Gold processing at Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit will be extended by eight years until 2029, the mine’s owner today announced.
KCGM General Manger Russell Cole explained extending the mine life will now see lower grade stockpiles, which were included in the company’s mining reserve in 2012, processed after open pit mining finishes.
“While current plans have us stopping open pit mining in 2019, processing the low grade stockpiles has now become part of our long-term plan,” Cole said.
“The inclusion of the stockpiles means KCGM currently plans to process gold until 2029.”
But with the price of gold tumbling off the back of record highs last year, processing lower grades will depend on the economics, Cole explained.
“Of course this may change as the economical viability of any project can fluctuate due to external factors such as gold price, taxes, labour costs and so on,” he said.
Surrounding the mine, local townships Kalgoorlie-Boulder are heavily reliant on its continued operation for employment.
“It is important for the community to understand that while KCGM endeavours to extend the life of the operations, gold price is variable and economically viable mineral resources are finite, and one day the mine will close,” Cole said.
“Providing a nominal date for mine closure ensures that adequate planning is undertaken by the operation, government and community to minimise potential impacts.”
Releasing its 2013 life of mine plan, KCGM is also seeking approval from the WA government to increase capacity at its tailings storage facilities and to close two roasters at Gidji.
“The two roasters at Gidji are scheduled to cease operating by the end of 2015, and will be replaced with a large Ultra Fine Grinding (UFG) Mill,” Cole said.