Gruyere JV experiences delay to first gold

Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources have faced more than a month’s delay in the construction and commissioning of the Gruyere joint venture project in Western Australia.

The Gruyere partners were not able to commission the ball mill within the contractual completion dates. They now expect to commence the commissioning early in the September quarter.

As a consequence, gold production for the year has been lowered to between 75,000 to 100,000 ounces, down from 100,000 to 120,000 ounces previously.

The operation’s all-in sustaining costs (AISC) will also likely be higher than the previous guidance of between $1050 and $1150 an ounce.

“The delay in construction and commissioning is disappointing, however, the areas of the plant currently commissioned are performing strongly,” Gold Fields executive vice president Stuart Mathews said.

“Additionally, mining continues to track ahead of plan and mined tones are closely aligned to reserve and grade control estimates, which sets Gruyere up for sustainable production once commissioning and ramp up have been completed.”

Gruyere has around two million tonnes of ore mined and stockpiled to date, with gold grades that are estimated to align closely to projections.

The project is on track to deliver first gold in the current quarter, in line with guidance following the commissioning of the crusher and semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill this year.

“As a global Tier 1 gold mine, the project remains within cost guidance and we are confident of a successful ramp-up to nameplate capacity and the long-term performance of the operation,” Gibbs said.

The project’s mine-life average yearly production is estimated at around 300,000 ounces a year, with AISC over a 12-year life averaging around $1025 an ounce.

Gold Road’s balance sheet “remains strong and is positioned to manage any delays”, according to Gold Road managing director Duncan Gibbs.

The JV partners also continue to provide support to the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, Gibbs added.

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