IGO has reported a 9 per cent increase to its mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its share in the Tropicana joint venture project in Western Australia due to increased gold prices last year.
The company boosted its MRE for its 30 per cent share in Tropicana by 186,000 ounces last year, which was also driven by the inclusion of its underground inferred MRE and changes to underground mining assumptions.
AngloGold Ashanti Australia owns the remaining 70 per cent interest in Tropicana.
The ore reserve estimate for Tropicana declined to 2.69 million ounces due to mining depletion, representing an 11 per cent decrease for IGO’s interest to 807,000 ounces.
According to IGO managing director and chief executive Peter Bradford, there are potentially more underground mines at Tropicana to be uncovered.
“The commissioning and commercial production ramp-up from Tropicana’s first underground mine at Boston Shaker was a key operational milestone,” he said.
“Underground resource definition drilling will continue through CY21 (calendar year 2021) to extend the Boston Shaker underground ore reserve.
“There are also additional work programs under way to assess the potential for additional underground mines below the final design limits of the Tropicana, Havana and Havana South open pits.”
IGO’s reserves at the Nova Operation in Western Australia declined by 14,000 tonnes in 2020.
A total 33,000 tonnes of nickel was mined last year and was offset by 20,000 tonnes of increase due to resource dilution and recovery factors and mine design optimisation.
Nova has a remaining 6.5 year mine life under the current life of mine plan.
IGO’s total attributable mineral resources from Nova and Tropicana include 208,000 tonnes of nickel, 84,000 tonnes of copper, 7000 tonnes of cobalt and 2.3 million ounces of gold.
The company is continuing to fortify its portfolio by undertaking mine and regional exploration programs across Nova and Tropicana to improve reserves and mine life.