Saracen plots Carosue Dam capacity increase

The Carosue Dam mine. Image: Saracen Mineral Holdings.

Saracen Mineral Holdings plans to complete the construction of a 3.2 million tonne per annum processing plant at the Carosue Dam Operations in Western Australia during the 2021 financial year.

Completion of major capital investments, including the processing plant upgrade, at Carosue Dam will be a major focus of Saracen’s business plan. This is aimed to provide a long-term production rate of 240,000–250,000 ounces per annum.

Saracen also intends to commence and ramp up its open pit mining from the porphyry mining centre at Carosue Dam to a 1.6–1.8 million tonne per annum run-rate.

An investigation into the circumstances of a tragic worker accident at Carosue Dam have been ongoing since it occurred in July.

“On a very sad note, post the end of the financial year, a highly regarded colleague was fatally injured underground at Carosue Dam on July 13 2020,” Saracen managing director Raleigh Finlayson said.

“The investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy is ongoing with the full support of Saracen and our contract partner Byrnecut. The safety and wellbeing of our people is always Saracen’s first priority. Our thoughts and condolences remain with the late worker’s family, friends and workmates.”

The company delivered strong results for the 2020 financial year overall, with its production rising to 520,414 ounces, partially due to its joint venture (JV) agreement with Northern Star Resources at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit (KCGM) in Western Australia.

Saracen’s production guidance for the 2021 financial year is set at 600,000–640,000 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1300–$1400 per ounce.

“These results show Saracen has successfully made the transition to the big league of ASX gold producers,” Finlayson said.

“Our production rate is now running at (over) 600,000 ounces a year and our cost base is still tight. This means we are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the strong gold price and continue generating strong growth in our cashflow.”

Saracen’s Thunderbox operations in Western Australia are planned to reach a production rate of 200,000 ounces of gold a year for the next two to three years.

This will involve a continued ramp up of base load production from the Thunderbox underground development and milling of two open pit stock piles at Thunderbox, along with development of the Otto Bore reserve that is scheduled to commence surface mining in the 2022 financial year.

Saracen and Northern Star Resources have also established an “exploration and growth” sub-committee to assess potential expansion of the KCGM JV.

“All our operations are based in the Tier 1 location of Western Australia which, in conjunction with our future-proofing strategy, adds further certainty to the outlook for our business,” Finlayson said.

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