07/12/2017 - 16:03

Tropicana gold mine set for new phase

07/12/2017 - 16:03

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The joint owners of the Tropicana gold mine have approved spending of $48 million to underpin a new mining strategy that will see waste material from new pits tipped back into the original open pit mine, delivering increased production and a longer mine life.

Tropicana gold mine set for new phase
The new strategy will add 2.1 million ounces of gold production to the Tropicana business plan.

The joint owners of the Tropicana gold mine have approved spending of $46 million to underpin a new mining strategy under which waste material from new pits will be tipped back into the original open pit mine, delivering increased production and a longer mine life.

The new strategy will add 2.1 million ounces of gold production to the Tropicana business plan, extending mine life by about seven years to 2027.

Tropicana, which is jointly owned by AngloGold Ashanti Australia (70 per cent) and Independence Group, is the state’s third largest gold mine, with production of 432,00oz last year.

Gold production is forecast to be between 478,00oz and 492,000oz in 2018 and between 530,000oz and 548,000oz in 2019.

The new strategy involves mining of the Havana South pit and a cutback of the Boston Shaker pit, with the completed Tropicana pit to be used for back-fill.

This back-fill strategy, which is widely used in coal mining but rare in gold mining, avoids the need to truck waste material long distances to surface waste dumps.

To support the new approach, the mine’s joint owners have approved two capital projects.

They will spend $18 million to expand site infrastructure, including accommodation and workshops.

The mining gleet will also be expanded, with the addition of a second 600 tonne shovel and up to five additional trucks.

Costs for the expansion of the mining fleet will be borne by mining contractor Macmahon Holdings.

Mining capacity will increase from an estimated 90Mt this year to a peak of 107Mtpa in the 2019 calendar year, and continue at that rate for about four years and then gradually reduce. 

In addition, the joint owners will spend $28 million on a new ball mill which will deliver an increase in mill throughput capacity to 8.1 million tonnes per annum along with improved metallurgical recoveries.

The total investment is expected to have a pay-back of less than twelve months, with expansion work scheduled to be completed in the 2018 calendar year.  

AngloGold Ashanti’s senior vice president Australia Michael Erickson said the project was in line with the approach of developing cost-effective brownfield projects with attractive payback periods.

“The project validates the innovative ideas developed by our site team and technical specialists and gives us an excellent base from which we can investigate adding additional value through underground mining opportunities and regional exploration,” he added.

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