Resolute Mining Limited has commenced sublevel cave ore production at the Syama Underground project in Mali, West Africa.
The extraction of first ore from the southern end of the 1105 level of the Syama sublevel cave marks the anticipated beginning of the main caving operation at Syama and the achievement of a major milestone for the company, Resolute said.
Resolute’s Managing Director and CEO, John Welborn, said: “Syama will be the world’s first, purpose built, fully automated sublevel cave gold mine. It is a world-class, long life, low cost asset that will deliver long term benefits to our shareholders, stakeholders, and local Mali communities for years to come.”
Resolute has partnered with Sandvik to deliver the automation solution at Syama, with the OEM also supplying the underground fleet, which includes automated Sandvik TH663 trucks and LH621, LH517 and LH514E LHDs.
Welborn went on to say Syama would be the most sophisticated and advanced gold mine in Africa.
“Our investment in exploration, infrastructure, technology, power, and innovation at Syama has transformed a world-class orebody into a world-class mine,” he said.
Resolute has an ambition to be a leader in sustainable and responsible economic growth in Africa, according to Welborn. The company recently announced plans to build a new 40 MW Syama Solar Hybrid Power Plant which will deliver an expected 40% savings on power costs and is expected to be the world’s largest mine-based, off-grid fully integrated independent solar hybrid power plant.
In addition to this, the company is working on Project 85, a series of sulphide processing plant upgrades, that will enable the company to achieve improved recoveries from high-grade ore sourced from the new sublevel cave, he said.
“The combination of mine automation, improved recoveries, and lower cost power has the potential to increase Syama site production to 300,000 oz/y of gold and reduce life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs to below $750/oz,” he added.
The initial development of the sublevel cave infrastructure including the twin declines and access to the first four sublevel levels of the cave, the 1130, 1105,1080 and 1055 sub levels, has been established. Approximately 400,000 t of development and long hole stoping ore have been extracted from the underground mine to date. Mining rates will gradually build up over the first half of 2019 and are expected to reach nameplate capacity of 200,000 t/mth by the end of June 2019.