Mining has started at Focus Minerals’ high-grade underground mine, The Mount and could add up to 60 000 ounces per year of gold to the company’s output.
The increase at the underground mine in Western Australia is expected to reduce costs further, according to a statement by the ASX-listed company.
“Focus Minerals (ASX: FML) is pleased to announce that it has started mining gold at The Mount underground project in a move it expects will lift its annual production rate by 40-60,000 ounces,” it said.
The Mount, in Widgiemooltha, is about 80 kilometres south of Focus’ Three Mile Hill processing plant in Coolgardie.
It has a significant inferred resource of 2.1 million tonnes at 5.5g/t for 370 000, the company stated, and has produced over 34 555 tonnes at 7.78g/t from trial mining.
The company has a target of 1 500 ounces per vertical metre at the site, and plans to extract 40 vertical metres per year to support annualised production of between 40 000 and 60 000 ounces.
An exploration cross-cut to test mineralisation in the Main and Fuschs lode areas has also begun, which will test about 15 structures in its development over the next month and the company says it will allow more accurate assessment of each structure for mining.
Additional high grade reserves will be available from the 15 parallel sub-vertical lodes across a 300 metre by 600 metre area that is open in all directions and depth.
According to Focus chief executive, the commencement of commercial mining at The Mount is a significant for investors because it marks the beginning of a second production platform to complement existing underground mining operations at its Tindals Mining Centre in Coolgardie.
“The Mount will give Focus an additional source of high-grade feed for the Three Mile Hill processing facility and, as we move into production through the June Quarter,” Baird said.
“We aim to have The Mount at full scale production by the end of the year.”
Image: Focus Minerals