Resolute Mining will ramp up an expansion of the Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland after announcing a major upgrade in mineral resources and ore reserves for the site.
Optimisation work at the site has identified opportunities to expand annual mill throughput and gold production by developing and mining the Buck Reef West, Sarsfield and Nolans East orebodies, according to Resolute.
The proposal is expected to be achieved through bulk, open-pit mining with large mobile fleet classes and rejection of waste from Sarsfield-Nolans ore prior to milling.
It will also include expanding mill capacity of the existing processing plant in two stages, from 2.8 million tonnes per annum to five million tonnes per annum firstly, then to 7.1 million tonnes per annum.
The plan to expand the the existing Nolans tailings storage facility to store process tailings also forms part of the expansion.
Resolute’s growth strategy is backed by significant upgrades to ore reserves and mineral resources at Ravenswood.
Its ore reserves at the site have increased by one million ounces, from 1.7 million ounces to 2.7 million ounces, representing a 58 per cent increase.
The company has also updated its mineral resource estimate for its combined Ravenswood deposits, which consist of Buck Reef West, Nolans and Sarsfield – all within a radius of 1.5 square kilometres of the Nolans processing plant.
Resolute’s update reveals that minerals resources stand at 270 million tonnes at 0.7 grams per tonne for 5.9 million ounces of gold.
Its mining, metallurgical and engineering studies performed during 2019 as part of an ongoing strategic review of the Ravenswood expansion project also supported an updated ore reserve at Ravenswood of 115.4 million tonnes at 0.7 grams per tone for 2.7 million ounces of gold.
Resolute’s chief executive officer John Welborn was encouraged by the major increase of the company’s gold inventory at Ravenswood and the implication for larger scale production over a long mine life.
“One million additional ounces of gold in ore reserves at Ravenswood is an excellent outcome from our recent drilling programs and study work, available gold resources now exceed five million ounces demonstrating its status as an outstanding Australia gold mine,” he said.
Welborn said with almost three million ounces of gold in ore reserves, the company was directing its ongoing study work on optimising the Ravenswood expansion project, which would be capable of annually producing 200,000 ounces over a 15-year mine life.
“The expanded gold inventory demonstrates that Ravenswood presents a unique opportunity for transformation into a large scale, low cost operation,” Welborn said.
“With an exceptionally long mine life, (it) will deliver considerable economic benefits to the Ravenwood community, the Queensland Government and Resolute shareholders.”