Resolute Mining has reduced the cost profile at its Syama underground gold mine in Mali in West Africa by as much as 15 per cent, owing to its autonomous mine design and power upgrade.
Its costs favourably slid from $US881 per ounce (or $1200/oz), down to $US746/oz (or $1017/oz).
Resolute managing director and chief executive John Welborn said, “The sub-level cave mine plan at Syama lends itself to automation. Our partnership with Sandvik to deliver autonomous haulage and trucking enables major productivity and cost improvements over the original DFS [definitive feasibility study].”
The automation partnership between Resolute Mining and Sandvik will allow the two companies to bring full end-to-end automation and process optimisation into an underground mine.
They are collaborating on equipment selection, underground infrastructure design, and the ability to match that with the ASX-listed miner’s ambitions to operate machinery that will increase profitability, reduce costs and improve safety.
Resolute has also identified a new hybrid energy solution, whereby it uses solar photovoltaic to deliver substantial engine efficiency, with processing costs being slashed to up to 40 to 50 per cent compared with diesel.
Welborn added, “An upgrade of the Syama power station supports a further cost reduction in sulphide processing. Collectively these improvements support life of mine production at an all-in sustaining cost of $US746/oz, a material improvement on the original mine design.”
The automated mining technology also extended the life of its underground mine by four years, from 2028 to 2032. Syama’s DFS previously extended its underground mine life to beyond 2028 at the very least.
Adding to the company’s string of good news, Syama’s reserve figure increased by nearly 1Moz of reserve in contained gold, which is 48 per cent higher tonnage, and 38 per cent more contained ounces than previously estimated.
“There is obvious scope to increase the current planned mining rate of 2.4Mt per annum to as much as 4Mt per annum. This is exciting and highly value creative pathway ahead for Resolute at Syama,” Welborn said.
The company is on track to commence sub-level caving in December 2018.