Heron Resources says it has successfully commenced processing activities at its Woodlawn zinc-copper mine in New South Wales, Australia.
Reclaimed tailings from hydraulic mining operations are now being processed in the new flotation treatment facility; a significant milestone that marks the start of full production activities, the company said.
Attention has now turned to the ramp-up program with a focus on increasing throughput to nameplate capacity of 1.5 Mt/y, achieving design recoveries and meeting product quality specifications for the three base metal concentrates to be produced at Woodlawn.
In addition, preparation for the first processing campaign of high-grade underground ore is well advanced and will proceed following the current ramp-up program, Heron said.
“Underground mining continues to perform well, with production in the last three months exceeding plans, and development ore from the G2 Lens stockpiled at the crushing circuit in readiness for processing,” the company said.
Based on the current ore reserves mine plan, the project is expected to produce three concentrates at an average annualised gross production rate at steady-state of 40,000 t zinc, 10,000 t copper, 12,000 t lead, 900,000 oz silver and 4,000 oz gold over an initial mine life of 9.3 years. The company says there is significant potential for mine life extensions through the conversion of high-grade underground resources and further exploration success.
Heron’s Managing Director and CEO, Wayne Taylor, said: “We are excited to have now achieved this significant milestone in the transition from explorer to producer with the processing of the first reclaimed tailing through the Woodlawn plant. Commencing operations is timely, and we look forward to taking advantage of continuing favourable conditions in base metals markets as we ramp-up our operations.”
The feasibility study for the “starter case” at Woodlawn contemplated campaign treatment processing of 1-1.5 Mt/y from two separate production sources – underground and tailings.
The company kicked off commissioning at Woodlawn back in December.