Evolution Mining’s expansion of the Cowal gold operations in New South Wales has moved forward with the award of an underground development contract to Pybar.
The gold miner, which plans to increase production at Cowal to 300,000 ounces a year, secured state government approval to construct the Galway-Regal-E46 (GRE46) exploration decline in October last year.
Pybar will provide the underground exploration decline development and diamond drilling at the site from next month to advance this project.
The 12-month contract, which will require a team of 37 workers, also involves portal development and level development.
Evolution is developing the decline to perform further resource definition and discovery drilling after announcing a maiden GRE46 underground mineral resource in April 2018.
The company has forecast the development to cost up to $22 million, with an additional $6 million investment to be spent on an initial 36,000 metre drill program.
Cowal general manager Craig Fawcett said: “This development is an important component of achieving our objective of producing 300,000 ounces per annum at Cowal.”
Pybar, which is currently recruiting for a number of positions at the project, plans to start the contract on March 1.
The contractor has a preference for local workers to support its recruitment strategy.
Pybar chief executive officer Brendan Rouse said: “This contract further strengthens our position in the eastern seaboard following the announcement of our contract at Peak mine late last year.”
Evolution has also approved a $25–30 million project to expand the Cowal processing plant to 8.7 million tonnes per annum.
The company is exploring long-term opportunities to increase the throughput rate even further to the permitted 9.8 million tonnes per annum in the coming years.
Evolution produced 258,000 ounces of gold at Cowal in the 2018 financial year.