Evolution increases Cowal production despite NSW drought

The Cowal gold mine. Image: Evolution Mining.

Evolution Mining has continued to battle with New South Wales’ severe drought conditions at the company’s top producing gold mine, the Cowal operation.

The gold miner had been executing a strategy to reduce Cowal’s reliance on surface fresh water and increase reliance on reused and recycled water amid state-wide water restrictions.

Evolution plans to install a second pipeline across Lake Cowal, commission three additional saline bores in the Eastern Saline Bore Field and commission an additional saline bore field south of the Eastern Saline Bore Field. These projects are due to complete this year.

The drought conditions did not dampen Evolution’s Cowal gold output, with the company producing 140,887 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $891 an ounce during the half year to December last year.

This represents a jump from 119,504 ounces produced in the prior corresponding period.

Evolution also completed the Warraga underground exploration decline during the December period ahead of schedule.

“The Cowal underground mine will provide a step change to production and costs and the extensions at Ernest Henry ensure this asset will continue to provide Evolution with high margin ounces on a sustainable basis,” Evolution chairman Jake Klein said.

Elsewhere, the company expects a loss of ore tonnes at the Mt Carlton mine in Queensland over the remainder of the 2020 financial year.

“Due to recent grade control and resource definition drilling in the V2 open pit, results have returned identifying the West and East Lode orebodies are narrowing at shallower levels than previously modelled,” Evolution stated.

Evolution expects to produce between 70,000 ounces and 75,000 ounces at Mt Carlton, against the 2020 financial year guidance of 95,000 to 105,000 ounces.

This will increase Mt Carlton’s AISC for the 2020 financial year from $800–$850 an ounce to $1150–$1225 an ounce.

At the Mungari project in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Evolution has incrementally increased plant throughput rates towards a rate of two million tonnes a year, thanks to operational and maintenance improvements.

Evolution plans to continue works and studies in the June half-year to at least sustain this rate.

The company achieved a production of 63,489 ounces during the half year to December last year at Mungari, an improvement from 65,112 ounces in the prior corresponding period.

Evolution registered a record underlying net profit after tax of $149.1 million during the December 2019 half year.

“These record half year financial results demonstrate the quality of Evolution’s asset portfolio,” Klein said.

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