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PanTerra Gold Brings Las Lagunas Plant Throughput To Design Levels

PanTerra Gold (ASX: PGI) has increased throughput at its Las Lagunas gold/silver project plant in the Dominican Republic to design levels and is now focused on optimising recoveries.

The installation of a replacement ball mill motor over the weekend has allowed the mill to comfortably handle the grind of coarser refractory tailings from the Pueblo Viejo mine, allowing throughput to reach 100 tonnes per hour.

The existing motor, which is still under warranty, will be rewound so as to achieve nameplate capacity and then serve as a spare.

With the regrind section of the process plant now operating to design capacity, technical staff can concentrate on fine tuning the three other important circuits of the plant - floatation, oxidation and CIL - in order to optimise gold and silver recoveries.

PanTerra added that anticipated income for the past six months has been reduced primarily as a consequence of design/manufacturing issues with major equipment and is investigating the prospect of claims for compensation against several suppliers.

Loan repayments to the project financier have also been rescheduled to start on 31 March 2013, which will assist short-term cash flows.

Throughput to the project, which made its first gold pour in late July 2012, had been affected by the need to replace the shell of the ultrafine grinding mill and problems with the previous ball mill motor preventing it from being used at nameplate capacity.

Las Lagunas

Las Lagunas is being carried out under a profit sharing arrangement with the Dominican Government utilisingXstrata Technology's Albion oxidation process in conjunction with a standard CIL circuit.

The Government will receive 25% of operating profits after the company has recovered its investment in the project. No income tax is payable on project profits.

It is expected to produce about 69,000 ounces of gold and 630,000 ounces of silver annually, with the pilot plant testwork demonstrating expected recovery of 435,360 ounces of gold and nearly 4 million ounces of silver over a six and a half year mine life.

This would allow PanTerra to generate income of around US$11 million per month, which equates to about US$132 million per annum based on a gold price of US$1,650 an ounce and silver of US$30 an ounce.

Las Lagunas project involves the reprocessing of high grade gold and silver refractory tailings from the Pueblo Viejo mine, derived from open pit operations between 1992 and 1999.

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