Having completed the construction of the SART plant at the White Dam gold-copper heap leach asset in South Australia, GBM Resources has earned a 50% stake in the joint venture operation.
The execution of the joint venture between GBM and Round Oak Minerals, signed on December 18, 2019, was conditional on the completion of the sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) plant at White Dam.
The SART plant construction was completed broadly as planned, with only slight COVID-19 related delays to delivery times of some key equipment, GBM noted. Staged commissioning activities commenced over the past three weeks as circuits in the plant were progressively completed.
The circuit has also now been continuously operated, with reagent additions and first copper sulphide concentrate having been produced, according to GBM. The gold leaching circuit and SART plant are targeted to reach steady-state operations during the current quarter.
Key contractors contributing to the design and construction of the SART plant include Core Metallurgy (metallurgical test work and process design), ammjohncm (civil and electrical design), Environmental Construction (civil construction) and DKM Electrical (electrical).
GBM also expects to complete a JORC 2012 compliant mineral resource estimate for White Dam shortly, which is expected to identify additional production potential of the existing heap leach operation moving forward, it said.
Peter Rohner, Managing Director and CEO, said: “I would like to thank the Round Oak team, both for their efficiency in finalising the joint venture documentation and, in particular, the efforts of their team on site in constructing the SART plant. I would also like to thank the other contractors involved in completing the construction work in a safe and timely manner.
“We are now working to finalise commissioning and look forward to shipping the first copper concentrates and recovering additional gold bullion in the current quarter.
“The SART plant project at White Dam is not only expected to generate cashflow for GBM, but also to extend the life of the operation and deliver an improved outcome for ultimate project closure by removing copper from the existing heaps.”
White Dam is around 50 km southwest of Broken Hill. It is a heap leach operation that, since 2010, has produced about 175,000 oz of gold from heap leaching of 7.5 Mt of ore at 0.94 g/t Au (which was mined from two open pits).