Resolute Mining has been granted approval for nine mining leases that will help catapult the Ravenswood gold project in Queensland into expansion.
Ravenswood’s proposed expansion is expected to extend the gold mine’s life by at least 14 years.
The Queensland Government approval builds on its support for Ravenswood after the site’s project status was last year extended to November 2020.
It allows Resolute navigate government approvals and cut red tape, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
The mining leases include areas within the operational footprint of the proposed Buck Reef West open pit and its adjoining Sarsfield deposit, and nearby land required for infrastructure.
Resolute plans to make a final investment decision for the expansion in the second half of 2019 following the completion of a strategic review.
Its operations at the new open pit mine, Buck Reef West, are scheduled to start by July this year and reach full capacity by 2024, while mining at the Mt Wright underground mine will be extended until late 2019.
The Mt Wright operations will focus on processing low-grade stockpiles pending the development of Ravenswood.
“These new mining leases support our plans to expand production from our Ravenswood gold mine and continue a strong partnership with the government and the local workforce and community that commenced in 2004,” Resolute managing director John Welborn said.
“We continue to create value at Ravenswood and we expect the ongoing strategic review will now be able to incorporate expanded production rates as we prepare for an investment decision on the Ravenswood expansion project.”
Welborn believes Ravenswood’s future is increasingly secure as a large scale, long life open pit gold mine that will provide local employment, regional economic stimulus, community benefits and revenue for the state government.
The government’s decision recognises that mining is a “Queensland strength” at a time of rising unemployment in the state, according to QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.
The $150 million project could secure 280 existing jobs and create another 100 construction jobs for Ravenswood’s new mine.
“These new leases acknowledge Resolute Mining’s significant contribution to Ravenswood,” Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said.
“The company has pre-funded and commenced refurbishing and relocating the historic Ravenswood State School, providing new sporting facilities and helped preserve this former gold town’s cultural heritage.
“For Resolute, it means they can continue operations smoothly as one mine reaches the end of its lifecycle and another begins.”