• Newly acquired Gekko processing plant expected to reduce capex for Vertex Minerals’ Reward gold mine development
  • Plant will require less water and power compared to PFS assumptions
  • Stockpiled material can also be processed through the plant for early cashflow
  • Reward PFS being updated to account for lower capex


Special Report: Vertex Minerals’ decision to acquire a Gekko gold gravity processing plant looks to be a wise one with a new engineering study finding that it will lower capex for its Reward mine development and enable early cashflow.

Gekko plants are renowned for their low-energy mining capacity, smart design and high-tech capabilities.

They are also easily transportable and modular, making them suitable for being moved around, while having the capacity for expansion and ease of modification.

Vertex Minerals (ASX:VTX) had acquired this particular plant from the Morningstar gold mine in Victoria for just $620,000 plus GST after raising $800,000 via a placement to fund the purchase.

The plant will be moved to the Hill East project in NSW where it is expected to slot straight into the existing mining set-up at VTX’s flagship Reward gold mine, thus reducing development time.

Reward has an extremely high-grade resource of 419,000t @ 16.72g/t – or 225,200oz of contained gold – with a higher confidence indicated resource of 141,000t @ 15.54g/t, or 70,500oz of contained gold.

This is contained within the company’s 24km of contiguous tenements along the Hill End gold system in NSW’s famous Lachlan Fold Belt – and just 60km from Australia’s largest gold mine, Cadia.


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The Morning Star Gekko Modular Gravity Gold plant looking west. Pic via VTX


Major, beneficial changes to Reward

VTX has now received a new engineering study from Gekko Systems that highlights some significant changes to the existing Reward pre-feasibility study, chief being lower capex, reduced build time and the ability to process stockpiled material to establish early cash flows.

The use of the upgraded refurbished plant, which will be able to treat up to 120,000tpa compared to the 30,000tpa of its existing plant, will change the flowsheet by having a three-stage crushing setup (instead of two), slightly lower nominal throughput rate and smaller but multiple gold centrifuges.


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The Morningstar Gekko Modular Gravity Gold plant looking north. Pic via VTX


Adding further interest, the Gekko plant will substantially reduce water demand from 35m3/h to 10m3/h and installed power from 688kW to 365kW.

This will reduce capex – previously estimated at ~$4m – for the refurbishing and re-use of various fixed componentry from both the Reward and Morningstar plants.

The Gekko plant is also ideally suited to the free milling, high-grade Reward ore, with expected gold recoveries of 92%.

VTX adds that recent trial processing of stockpiled material adjacent to the gold plant established an average feed grade of 2g/t.

While trial processing was suspended in December 2023 due to plant reliability, the company believes this material will have a favourable economic benefit when processed at a higher rate.

It plans to process these stockpiles as the first feed to the new plant, to establish early cashflows while developing the high-grade stopes in the Reward mine.

VTX is now updating the Reward PFS to incorporate the lower capex of the Gekko plant.



This article was developed in collaboration with Vertex Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.