Capricorn Metals is set to to increase its throughput at the Karlawinda gold project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to 5 million tonnes per annum.
This is higher than the previously anticipated throughputs of 3.5 to 4 million tonnes per annum, as the company has achieved increased crushing capacity in the project’s final design process by scaling and modifying equipment and other associated structures.
The company has entered into a trading halt today (July 27), as it prepares to make further announcements regarding the expansion of the Karlawinda project.
Capricorn aims to progress with plant commissioning at Karlawinda during the March 2021 quarter, targeting first gold production by the June 2021 quarter.
It has previously estimated the development costs at between $165 and $170 million, including modifications for the higher throughput and an airstrip on site, to reduce mining contractor shift change downtime over the life of mine.
This will allow Capricorn to fly staff direct to site through a charter airline service rather than on commercial airlines via Newman airport, which is 85 kilometres by road from the Karlawinda site.
Capricorn executive chairman Mark Clark said: “With the potential to process up to 5 million tonnes of ore per annum in the first three years of the project this should have positive implications for production, payback and overall project economics.
“Meanwhile, site based work is progressing at pace towards a target of commencing plant commissioning in the March 2021 quarter and producing first gold in the June 2021 quarter.”
During the quarter, Capricorn made “significant progress” on the Karlawinda development, including the 306-room accommodation village, completing plumbing, electrical and concreting work and the workforce moving into the facility during April.
The company progressed engineering and plant design works, completing 80 per cent of mechanical design work and further electrical design work.
Capricorn also ordered key process plant materials like slurry pumps, cyclones, conveyor drives and cone crusher feeders, while taking delivery of structural and steel plate packages for the reclaim area.
No delays of equipment were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Capricorn continued to liaise with all key suppliers.