Joint venture partners AngloGold Ashanti and Independence Group (IGO) have confirmed that underground mining is technically and financially viable at the Tropicana gold mine in Western Australia.
The partners have released a pre-feasibility study (PFS) into the development of an underground mine beneath Tropicana’s Boston Shaker pits.
Tropicana has the potential to be developed into an underground mine producing around 100,000 ounces a year over a mine life of approximately seven years, according to the study.
The project would cost an estimated $95 million to develop. It would be aligned with the open pit design and schedule, capitalising on process plant improvements delivered at the site last month through the commissioning of a second ball mill.
IGO managing director Peter Bradford said the study demonstrated the potential viability of underground mining beneath the Boston Shaker open pits that integrate with the existing open pit life of mine.
“Delivery of Boston Shaker underground will result in an improved grade and gold production rate from Tropicana in financial year 2021,” Bradford said.
“The pre-feasibility study is one of a number of work programs implemented at Tropicana to add value. The results are encouraging, and we look forward to completing the feasibility study and potentially starting another exciting chapter at Tropicana.”
The partners expect to complete the feasibility study and make a financial commitment to the development in the second half of the 2019 financial year.
Tropicana is 70 per cent owned by AngloGold, with IGO holding the remaining stake.