JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Construction of Aureus Mining’s flagship New Liberty gold project, in Liberia, is nearing completion and on track to enable the delivery of first gold by the end of the month, the company noted in a quarterly results statement.
New Liberty’s 924 000-oz reserves supported an openpit operation with an average yearly production rate of 1.1-million tons of ore over an eight-year mine life.
The development-stage gold company outlined that the hot and cold commissioning phases of the project had started in the quarter ended March 31, with the bulk of the work having been focused on the front-end infrastructure.
The primary jaw crusher and secondary cone crushing circuits had been fully commissioned, while the mechanical and electrical commissioning had been completed on the screening circuit.
All conveyor systems were installed during the period, with all belts tracked, trained and running successfully.
The ball mill motor was, meanwhile, fully synchronised and direction-tested, rendering it now fully installed, with all alignments completed.
The stockpile tunnel mechanical installation was also completed over the three months, with electrical installation reaching 60% completion.
Aureus added that the operation’s electrowinning circuit had also been mechanically installed and leak-tested during the period, while work continued to progress on the electrical supply installation in this area.
Overall electrical installation had reached over 80% completion, while the oxygen plant area and gold room were in an advanced state of preparation, and the power generation system fully commissioned, with all six generators now on site and synchronised.
Work had further progressed on the tailings storage facility, with current work running to schedule and current storage capacity sufficient for the first 15 months of processing operations.
“Mining activities progressed well throughout the period and focused on the weathered eastern and western ends of the Larjor pit, where mining levels had reached the 65 m relative level elevation.
“Mining also started in the weathered zone of the Kinjor starter pit, with the first flitch completed. All oxide material mined from both pits was stockpiled on the run-of-mine pad ready for processing,” said the group.
ADDITIONAL TARGETS Aureus, meanwhile, continued to advance its remaining West African gold projects over the quarter, undertaking extensive drill programmes at the Ndablama project, in Liberia, which had revealed “multiple” gold intercepts associated with two mineralised zones.
Further mapping was currently being undertaken within Ndablama and along strike to gain a better understanding of the nearby targets in the pressure shadow structure that hosted the project.
Elsewhere in Liberia, the group continued to investigate and better define possible targets at the Weaju, Leopard Rock, Gondoja, Koinja, Gbalidee, Welinkua and Musa, Silver Hills, Yambesei, Archean West, Mabong, Mafa West tenements, with the bulk of these still in the early exploratory phase.
In Cameroon, Aureus completed exploration work focusing on the mineralised system of the Batouri licence’s Kambele and Dimako targets over the quarter and planned to conduct a ground-induced polarisation or ground magnetic survey on the project in the near future.
Meanwhile, as the group entered the second quarter of the year, Aureus outlined that it’s primary focus for the remainder of the year would be to successfully commission New Liberty and raise production levels to steady-state nameplate capacity of 95 000 t/m and generate operating cash flows.
“Aureus is well positioned to make the transition from developer to being a gold producer with all key operating personnel in place with extensive African gold mining experience.
“Generative exploration work continues over Aureus’ prospective licences with the medium-term goal of being a multiple mine producer,” the company stated.
Aureus posted a loss for the quarter of $2.7-million, compared with a loss of $1.4-million in the first three months of the prior year.