Shanta Gold has updated progress on the New Luika gold mine following an analyst site visit.
• Stockpiled ore estimated to contain more than 13,000oz of gold available for processing since start of ore mining in November 2011
• Plant construction well advanced with hot commissioning expected by the end of this quarter
• First gold production expected mid-third quarter and first cash receipts expected by the end of the third quarter
• Updated resource statement expected during this quarter to drive potential increase in plant capacity and production profile.
Shanta Gold executive chairman Walton Imrie says Shanta Gold is at a transformational stage. Almost all key infrastructure is now on site and construction of the plant is well advanced. Our desire to reinforce security measures with the addition of a high security gold room has added approximately one month to the construction timetable, which we believe is in the company and shareholders‘ interests.
“The extended timetable has increased working capital requirements; however, we have a number of options in place as demonstrated by our ability to source low-cost debt capital and the enlarged and untapped equity distribution facility announced in January of this year.
Shanta Gold CEO Gareth Taylor says Shanta Gold has been very active on the ground at New Luika mine.
“We commenced ore mining in November 2011 and now have approximately 100,000 tonnes of high-grade ore, estimated to contain over 13,000 oz of gold, readily available to feed the plant immediately upon commissioning, thereby maximising the project‘s returns.
“There are over 500 people currently employed at New Luika of which 200 people are based in camp and I am proud to report that the project has achieved over 1 million injury-free man hours to date. The updated New Luika resource statement expected during Q2 will allow Shanta Gold to explore the possibility of increasing the plant capacity and increase near-term production, which the directors believe should further improve the project‘s economics.”
New Luika based in the Lupa goldfields in southwest Tanzania will be Shanta Gold's first producing mine. The Bauhinia Creek and Luika open pits will together feed a centralised 50 tonnes/hour processing plant. Both pits have high-grade gold-bearing gravels at surface, which have been stockpiled along with initial primary ore from Bauhinia Creek.
The Company is actively mining and drilling the Bauhinia Creek pit using an external contractor's fleet that includes ten 40-t trucks, six excavators, five dozers, and three blasthole rigs, amongst other equipment. The current Bauhinia Creek mine plan envisages a 120 metre deep open pit operation. Based on the encouraging exploration results announced in January 2012, Shanta Gold has considered an enlarged conceptual Bauhinia Creek pit to a depth of 200 m. Bauhinia Creek has so far been mined to a depth of 25 metres at its lowest point with more than 1 million cubic metres of ore and waste mined.
Construction of the tailings dam has been completed with initial capacity for almost the first three years of production.
The decision to begin mining prior to completion of the plant was driven by a desire to increase the project's returns. Having large amounts of different grades on ore stockpile gives the company the ability to initially feed high-grade ore and quickly ramp up production to name-plate capacity once the plant is commissioned.
The New Luika processing plant is a conventional CIL plant using two ball mills and seven leach tanks. The plant will have name-plate capacity of 50 tonnes/hour with scope to easily increase capacity with minimal additional infrastructure and expenditure, which will be supported by the updated resource estimate. www.shantagold.com
News courtesy of International Mining www.im-mining.com