Resolute Mining has delivered first gold from the Syama underground mine in Mali, West Africa on schedule, with the commissioning of fully autonomous fleet next on its agenda.
Syama’s first ore was extracted from the southern end of the 1105 level of its sublevel cave, marking the beginning of the anticipated main caving operation.
The mine’s first production of long-hole stoping ore was completed during the September 2018 quarter.
Production will be ramped up to 2.4 million tonnes per year by June next year, as Resolute now focuses on commissioning its fully autonomous fleet by January 2019.
Syama will be the world’s first purpose-built, fully automated sublevel cave gold mine.
Resolute chief executive John Welborn said, “Syama will be the most sophisticated and advanced gold mine in Africa. Our investment in exploration, infrastructure, technology, power and innovation at Syama has transformed a world class orebody into a world class mine.
“The commissioning of Project 85, a series of sulphide processing plant upgrades, will enable us to achieve improved recoveries from high-grade ore sourced from the new sublevel cave.”
Syama’s mine automation, improved recoveries and lower cost power has the potential to increase its site production to 300,000 ounces of gold per year and reduce life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs to below $US750 ($1045) per ounce.
Welborn said automation was key to driving costs down at Syama. Assisted by Sandvik, Syama’s automation will increase safety and productivity, and sustaining highly skilled jobs in Mali.
When Syama’s autonomous fleet is fully commissioned, its mining operation will be comprised of automated long hole production drilling (January 2019), loading of haul trucks (May 2019) and haulage from underground loading station to above ground run of mine pad (August 2019).
Sublevel caving will continue at the 1105 level and additional production areas will be established on the 1130 and 1080 sublevels.