Silver Lake Resources has modified its operating strategy at the Mount Monger gold mine in Western Australia due to a lack of skilled labour causing productivity and cost issues.
The new operating strategy will cut mill operation and instead focus on using Mount Monger’s stockpiles.
COVID-19 restrictions have impacted Silver Lake’s ability to source skilled labour, with the company expecting the shortage to continue in the 2022 financial year.
“The consequence of this have been higher turnover, lower productivity and higher costs,” the company stated.
“It appears unlikely the mobility of skilled labour will improve significantly in the 2022 financial year, however, Silver Lake’s historical stockpile build, and mill constrained operating plan, provides the company with operating flexibility to deliver 2022 financial year guidance.”
Silver Lake was still able to reach the higher end of its annual sales guidance with 248,781 ounces of gold and 1724 tonnes of copper sold in the 2021 financial year.
The company’s gold sales target for the 2022 financial year is set at 235,000 to 255,000 ounces of gold and 600 to 1000 tonnes of copper at an all-in-sustaining-cost (AISC) of $1550 to $1650 per ounce.
“At Mount Monger, Silver Lake will modify its operating strategy to reflect the limited mobility of skilled labour which is resulting in lower productivity and higher costs,” Silver Lake stated.
“This modified operating plan is made possible by Silver Lake’s investment in stockpiles at Mount Monger, which will maintain a mill constrained operation as Silver Lake reviews the scheduling of its projects to limit the operating and financial risk in the prevailing operating environment, while retaining optionality over established infrastructure.”
Silver Lake’s sales target for Mount Monger in the 2022 financial year is 125,000 to 135,000 ounces at an AISC range of $1750 to $1850 per ounce.
Underground mining at Mount Monger produced slightly lower results for the June quarter at 224,753 tonnes, compared with 235,981 tonnes in the March quarter.
The company also had lower quarter-on-quarter results at Mount Monger’s Daisy Complex due to a temporary suspension of operations in June due to a fatal incident.
However, Mount Monger’s open pit ore production increased in the June quarter at 438,056 tonnes of ore mined compared with 340,254 tonnes in the March quarter.
The company’s Deflector gold mine in Western Australia has commissioned a carbon in pulp (CIP) circuit in the June quarter.
Silver Lake also started production at Deflector’s Rothsay mine which will continue to ramp up during the first half of the 2022 financial year.