Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources have improved the production rates at the Gruyere joint venture (JV) in Western Australia, while flagging the potential for further increases in 2021.
At Gruyere, 2.1 million tonnes of ore was processed while plant throughput was raised after completion of mine to mill optimisation and improvements to the processing circuit.
The company increased its quarterly production from 55,919 ounces in the September 2020 quarter to 70,794 ounces in the December 2020 quarter.
Gold Road expects an increase in plant utilisation to coincide with production improvements.
“Plant utilisation averaged 82 per cent through the quarter (September quarter: 82 per cent). Despite the continued low utilisation, the production rate improved quarter on quarter, highlighting the potential for improvements in production as plant utilisation increases,” the company stated.
The Gruyere JV previously embarked on a renewable energy initiative that will boost plant throughput to 10 million tonnes per annum by commissioning an additional 4-megawatt gas engine, 13-megawatt solar farm and 4.4-megawatt battery energy storage system.
Phase 1 of the initiative will be completed by mid-2021 while phase 2 is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Gold Road achieved production of 258,173 ounces of gold in the 2020 calendar year, in line with the company’s 250,000 to 270,000-ounce guidance.
Sales for the December quarter reached 34,554 ounces at an average price of $2412 per ounce.
The company is scheduled to an its guidance for the 2021 calendar year in the March quarter.
The Gruyere gold project was discovered by Gold Road in 2013 who entered a JV with Gold Fields in 2013.
It remains one of the largest underdeveloped gold deposits in the country with a mineral resource defined as 148 million tonnes at 1.2 grams per tonne for 6.2 million ounces of gold.