Evolution Mining has accelerated the development of an underground mine at the Cowal gold operation in New South Wales, culminating in the early declaration of a maiden ore reserve.
The reserve is estimated at 804,000 ounces of gold, with the declaration well ahead of the original announcement scheduled for the end of the year.
Evolution’s total mineral resources at Cowal climbed from 8.6 million ounces to nine million ounces, while its ore reserves jumped from 3.6 million ounces to 4.4 million ounces.
Additional reserve growth is anticipated as Evolution continues underground drilling at the site.
Evolution has added over seven million ounces to Cowal’s mineral resources and 4.2 million ounces to its ore reserves since acquiring the project in 2015.
“This outstanding outcome has resulted in the potential to bring forward first production of higher-grade ore from the Cowal underground, which will provide a step change to the operation’s production profile,” Evolution chairman Jake Klein said.
“Maiden underground ore reserve is only a starting point on which to build on in the coming years. Our work at Cowal continues to demonstrate that this is a world class mineral system.”
Evolution has also completed the pre-feasibility study for the stage one underground project. It plans to apply for an underground mining permit early in the December quarter.
The company expects underground mining rates at Cowal to hover between 1.5–2 million tonnes a year, supporting an annual production rate beyond 300,000 ounces.
Development is expected to commence immediately upon receiving regulatory approval, and first ore could be mined from the underground within the following 12 months.
Meanwhile, Evolution produced a total of 218,104 ounces of gold across its operations in the June quarter, up from the 165,502 ounces produced in the previous period.
Its gold sales increased from 167,374 ounces in the March quarter to 218,685 ounces in the following period.
At the Red Lake operation in Canada, Evolution reduced its workforce from 911 to around 740.
Red Lake was acquired from Newmont earlier this year, with Evolution’s goal at the site to restore output to above 200,00 ounces a year at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of less than $US1000 ($1400) an ounce.
Evolution produced 27,428 ounces of gold at an AISC of $1943 an ounce at Red Lake during the June period – the first quarter of its ownership.