In the Murchison, Silver Lake is developing a second gold mining operation with multiple mines feeding a central processing facility.
The Murchison Gold Project has a current resource of 20.5 million tonnes at 2.9g/t for 1.9 million contained gold ounces.
The base case production plan has ore being sourced from 14 open pits and four underground mines at various stages over an eight to 10 year mine life.
The design of the gold processing facility has made allowance for the later addition of a base metals grinding and recovery circuit for potentially processing feed from the Eelya Complex.
Mill commissioning completed
Commissioning has now been completed on the 10.2 megawatt diesel fired power plant, crushing circuit, process water and reagent areas, grinding circuit, CIL circuit and tailings storage facility.
The crushing circuit is capable of producing 250 tonnes per hour and has been running at this rate consistently, while the ball mill has been operating at name plate capacity of 135 tonnes per hour since mid-March.
Mill availability has been 93% and the plant was commissioned on low grade ore of around 1g/t gold.
It is currently being fed a blended grade of 2g/t gold from open pit ore sources.
Now that commissioning of the major mill components is complete the plant is being operated and maintained by Silver Lake.
Since wet commissioning of the mill began in mid-February, Silver Lake has produced 5,528 ounces of gold at a head grade of 1.38 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and recoveries of 95.3%.
Silver Lake's strategy was to achieve gold production by commissioning the crushing, grinding and CIL circuits and producing gold on carbon for offsite processing.
In parallel to that initial production, ongoing construction activities included tying in the gravity circuit to the process flow and completion of the gold room.
A small construction team remains onsite to progress these activities which are expected to be completed in about six weeks.
The tying in of the gravity circuit is not on critical path as it is only required once ore from the southern open pits and underground mines are in production later this year.
Since commissioning began carbon stripping and gold pours have been undertaken off site and this will continue until the gold room is completed. All gold on carbon to date has been stripped.
Ore is currently being sourced from three open pit mines - Genesis, Caustons North and Comet South.
Waste stripping is in progress at the 5g/t gold Eclipse open pit and ore from this deposit will be delivered to the mill in the mid-June 2013 quarter.
The portal to the Caustons underground mine is in progress and ore from strike drive development is expected to be delivered to the mill in the September 2013 quarter, followed by ore from stoping activities in the December 2013 quarter.
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