Gruyere joint venture partners Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources have delivered first gold at the Western Australian project.
The three dore gold bars totalled an estimated 1139 ounces and were produced from the carbon-in-leach and elution circuits, while commissioning of the less complex gravity circuit remains in progress.
Gold Fields executive vice president Stuart Mathews said, “the pouring of the first gold at a global Tier 1 gold mine like Grueye is a significant achievement.”
“The Gruyere joint venture’s focus now shifts to the safe and successful ramp‐up to nameplate capacity to allow us to deliver full value to all stakeholders,” he said.
With the delivery of first gold bars, the JV will move towards commissioning of the final components of the process plant, in particular the ball mill, which is anticipated to be completed early in the September quarter.
According to the JV partners, commissioning of the gravity gold recovery circuit is in progress and follows reinstallation of pipe work required for the safe operation of the circuit.
They will continue to produce gold until the ball mill is fully operational and is integrated into the circuit. During the commissioning and initial stages of ramp‐up, lower grade stockpiled ore will be processed to reduce gold losses associated with lower recoveries anticipated as the plant operations are stabilised.
The Gruyere project has reached the milestone despite experiencing minor set backs. It was revealed earlier this year that the partners were unable to commission the ball mill within the contractual completion dates.
Consequently, gold production for the year were lowered to between 75,000 to 100,000 ounces, down from 100,000 to 120,000 ounces previously.
This also resulted in the operation’s all-in sustaining costs being higher than the previous guidance of between $1050 and $1150 an ounce.
In January this year, Gruyere’s primary crushing system was ore commissioned, delivering material to the coarse ore stockpile.
The Gruyere power station and substations across the site, as well as water system around the process plant, were fully commissioned.
Gold Road chief executive officer Duncan Gibbs reciprocated his excitement of the “tremendous milestone” to deliver first gold.
“Importantly, Gold Road joins the ranks of ASX‐listed gold producers as owner of a 50 per cent stake in the world‐class Gruyere gold mine,” he said.
“Our work is far from done – we remain committed to exploring the highly prospective Yamarna Greenstone Belt to unlock the potential through the discovery of more resource ounces for Gruyere and new discoveries that could be developed as stand‐alone gold mines.”
Downer was appointed the operation’s mining services contractor in December 2017 with a five-year $400 million agreement.
Meanwhile, Gold Road also announced it has taken a 51 per cent interest in Cygnus Gold’s Lake Grace project.
It follows the company’s spend of an initial earn-in amount of $700,000 in the project, with Gold Road now electing to earn a further 24 per cent interest by spending a further $500,000 within 18 months.
The Lake Grace project is a joint venture Cygnus has with Gold Road, where it is managing exploration on tenements covering more than 6200 square kilometres southwest of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia.
Cygnus Gold’s managing director James Merrillees said the company’s exploration project with Gold Road had allowed it to explore large prospective tenement holdings more cost efficiently.
“The Lake Grace Project has generated a number of exciting gold prospects with results from the latest drilling anticipated in the next few weeks with drilling continuing into the next quarter,” Merrillees said.