Tiny gold explorer PanTerra was having trouble dredging for tailings in a dam — until it upgraded the huge rotating cutters on this beast (pictured above) to fix the problem.

Sydney-based Paneterra (ASX:PGI) owns a project north of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where it dredges a toxic dam for gold and silver tailings left over from a nearby open pit mine that operated in the 1990s.

The operation got bogged down in the March quarter, causing gold production to fall 19 per cent from the previous three months. Operating costs went up 23 per cent.

But the problem’s fixed now thanks to an upgrade of PanTera’s two dredging beasts.

The picture above shows a new dredge cutter head added to the monster — which now rotates faster after hydraulic pump upgrades.

“Modifications to the cutter heads of the company’s two dredges has increased production and feed volumes to the process plant to above-budget quantities since the beginning of April,” the company said yesterday.

Unfortunately the upgrade won’t save the project, which PenTerra plans to exit next year afer failing to agree on a way forward with local authorities.

But that means two dredgers with fast-rotating knives may be up for sale.

Here’s a video with some more information about the project: