Regis Resources has suspended open cut mining following heavy rains flooding its Duketon operations.
According to the miner “open pit mining at Garden Well and Rosemont has been suspended for four to six weeks” after having “been significantly impacted by a major rainfall event”.
Between the 11th and 13th of February the miner’s project area received around 165 millimetres of rain, of which 130 millimetres fell within a single 14 hour period.
Immediately following the heavy rainfall the miner went into a trading halt while it decided the fate of its operations as extensive flooding hit the site.
Severe flooding during what Regis called “a 1 in 150 year rainfall event” has forced it to now suspend operations.
At Garden Well the mine’s flood diversion bund was over topped by flood waters in the nearby creek system, and once waters topped the bund the eroded a section of around 30 metres of the bund length.
This caused a major inrush of flood waters into the open pit which continued for around 26 hours until water levels subsided to a point that workers could safely closed the breached bund.
“It is estimated that approximately 4.7 million cubic metres of water has flowed into the pit,” Regis said in a company statement.
It has an average depth of 45 metres.
At Rosemont flood waters breached a flood diversion bund north of the Rosemont North open pit, causing around 620 000 cubic metres of water to flood into the pit, with an average depth of 6.4 metres.
Regis stressed that during the incident “all Regis and contractor personnel were safely evacuated from both the Garden Well and Rosemont open pits prior to the flooding” and that “no significant equipment was damaged or lost as a result of the flooding”.
Unfortunately for the company “the flooding events at Garden Well and Rosemont are not insurable events under the company’s various insurance policies”.
Regis is currently working on getting a contractor at Garden Well to dewater the site, and has begun pumping water out of Rosemont itself.
The company will focus on processing its ROM stockpiles until the water problem has been solved.
In the meantime it has issued a force majeure to MACA in relation to its mining contracts, with MACA standing down the majority of its workforce at both operations.
Regis managing director Mark Clark stated that “this is a tough time for Regis and its people and a set-back from the company in the short term”.
“However, Regis is well placed both financially and operationally to manage its way through the interim operations period and get the entire Duketon Gold project back to a strong steady state in the second half of this calendar year.”