Bellevue Gold says it has awarded the open-pit mining and tailings facility construction contract for its namesake mine in Western Australia to a subsidiary of NRW Holdings Limited.
The contract has a total value of circa-A$24 million ($16 million), which Bellevue says is in line with the pre-production capital expenditure forecast.
Mining at the Vanguard open pit is set to commence in late March-early April 2023 and will offer Bellevue the opportunity to generate early cashflow via a toll treating arrangement, it says. Once mined, waste material from Vanguard will form the basis of the tailings facility.
Vanguard is scheduled to provide approximately 10,000 oz of gold, which will be available for processing in mid-2023, well in advance of the completion of the Bellevue processing facility. The company is exploring toll treatment options with mining companies in the region and discussions remain ongoing.
As part of the company’s plan to accelerate underground development and bring on additional ore sources, commencement of the Tribune boxcut will also be brought forward to open up the Tribune mining front.
The addition of the Tribune ore source will increase the number of active working fronts to five in the first year of production, further de-risking the production outlook by providing another independent mining area. Strategically, this will also provide options for drilling the southern extensions of the orebody from underground and allow for a top-down mining method, which will provide the most efficient method of accessing the orebody, according to Bellevue Gold.
The Tribune boxcut is scheduled to commence immediately after completion of the Vanguard open pit. This will create a considerable saving on de-mobilisation and mobilisation costs of the open pit mining fleet.
Construction of the 1 Mt/y nameplate processing facility, being built by GR Engineering, continues to advance on schedule and budget, meanwhile. Bulk and detailed earthworks for the processing plant site have all been fully completed, structural concrete on all critical infrastructure foundations has also been completed with only very minor concrete works remaining. The erection of structural steel for the crushing circuit is well advanced, while both secondary and tertiary crushers are on site and ready for installation. Work is continuing on critical path carbon-in-leach tanks, with five now at full height and well ahead of schedule.
The first two delivery lots of the three for the ball mill and components have landed in Perth ready for transport to site with a third due to land this quarter, well ahead of critical path requirements.
Underground development remains on track with full ramp up of the third jumbo achieved during January 2023. All three jumbos maintained full shift production, achieving >300m per jumbo per month on mostly capital development. Ore development is underway at the Armand work area, while capital development continues to advance towards the Bellevue South/Viago, Deacon Main and Marceline production areas.
Grade control drilling activities are ongoing with two underground diamond rigs operating at the Armand, Marceline and Bellevue South areas. Recent drilling has continued to reinforce the geological model and further de-risk the resources ahead of mining. A third underground rig has commenced targeting resource/reserve growth mainly at the Deacon Lode.