Monsters of Rock: Mine builders on track, Beament looks underground, and Silver Lake stalks Canadian gold producer
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WA’s tight market, supply chain issues and border restrictions have given miners plenty of reasons to push back project time frames.
Good news then, with two new mines in the Pilbara and Goldfields remaining on track to join Australia’s gold producing ranks by the middle of next year.
The first comes from Calidus Resources (ASX:CAI) at its Warrawoona project in the Pilbara, which is forecast to produce around 105,000ozpa or up to 139,000ozpa once the Blue Spec deposit is developed.
Calidus managing director Dave Reeves said the mine is still on track for a June 2022 start date on time and budget, despite cost blowouts and delays that have impacted other proposed mines in the State this year like Cyprium’s Nifty and Bardoc Gold’s Bardoc project.
The company says its process plant is 85% complete, with the project in general 78% done.
“The focus of the team on site is now swinging from construction to operational readiness with mining and recruiting activities ramping up,” Mr Reeves said.
“The Warrawoona Gold Project remains on time and budget, which is a huge credit to all employees and contractors involved in the construction in what has been a challenging environment.”
Over in the Goldfields, Red 5 (ASX:RED) is also racing to get its King of the Hills mine back up and running by the middle of next year.
A major exploration push and $224 million rebuild will revitalise the ageing mine, turning it from a small-scale underground producer into a 2.4Moz open pit with 16 years of life at almost 200,000ozpa.
“Some of the more notable achievements during November included significant progress with the installation of the imposing 36-foot diameter SAG mill, the arrival of the process plant control room and erection of the stacker conveyor,” Red 5 MD Mark Williams said.
“Construction of the ROM wall is also nearing completion and the power station switch room and engine hall are also now built.
“The hot tap into the Goldfields Gas Pipeline has also been completed and installation of the 13km gas lateral pipeline is underway.
“The site continues to be a hive of activity as we power on towards our goal of achieving first gold production in the June Quarter 2022. The countdown to production is well and truly on!”
Bill Beament’s little monster of rock DEVELOP Global (ASX:DVP) — a curious mix of mining services provider and copper explorer — is kicking off work to assess whether it can establish an underground mine at the Sulphur Springs copper project in WA’s north.
Develop doesn’t have any contracts yet, but could use Sulphur Springs as a launching pad for the underground mining contractor former Northern Star (ASX:NST) boss Beament says wants to help mining companies pursue their decarbonisation goals.
Develop shares were up 2% to over $4 (following a recent share consolidation) as the company released a slew of high grade drilling results from the Sulphur Springs copper-zinc project, which the company says includes the first exploration drilling in 25 years at the deposit and has seen infill results which point to a “significant increase in the Indicated Resource” and a new zone of zinc-rich mineralisation in its hanging wall.
Develop says the results have prompted a review to see if it can open an underground operation before reentering the open pit, with the company looking at establishing an exploration decline next year to ramp up drilling from underground platforms.
Sulphur Springs currently contains a resource of 13.8Mt at 2.5% CuEq (1.5% copper, 3.8% zinc, 0.2% lead and 17g/t silver) with 9.4Mt in the indicated category.
“The strength of the infill drilling results point to a significant increase in the Indicated Resource and has led us to initiate a study on the merits of starting with an underground operation rather than an open pit as currently planned,” Beament said.
“As part of this strategic review, we are considering construction of an exploration decline, which will enable us to accelerate drilling from underground and maintain it through the Pilbara wet season.
“Increasing the indicated resource will also help underpin our project funding options.”
Develop still has 75% of the assays to come from a $10 million, 20,000m drill program completed ahead of the northern wet season.
Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) has stepped up its efforts to take control of Canada’s distressed Harte Gold and its high grade Sugar Zone mine.
The Canadian company will seek court approval to begin a “sales and investment solicitation process” with financing from Silver Lake, which provided a C$10.8 million loan through “debtor in possession” financing designed to keep Harte Gold in business while the process takes place.
Silver Lake picked up Harte Gold’s main debt facility from BNP Paribas in an apparent effort to muscle in on the struggling Ontario gold miner.
After initially delivering a delay on its forbearance period last week, Silver Lake announced the new developments after the new forbearance deadline ran up on Monday.
The big prize is Sugar Zone, which has a high grade indicated resource of 2.8Mt at 11.87g/t for 1.07Moz of gold and reserve of 3.45Mt at 7.18g/t for 797,000oz.
The mine reached commercial production in 2019 but has expansion plans afoot, with a proposed C$21 million development slated to increase its annual production profile by 58% to 102,000oz in 2023 and an average of 98,700ozpa from 2023-2027.
A longstanding Aussie mid-tier gold miner, Silver Lake produces around 250,000ozpa from its Deflector and Mount Monger gold mines in WA.