Tag Archives: heap leach

Thiess set to operate and maintain two mining fleets at Austral’s Anthill copper project

Thiess says it has been selected as preferred mining services contractor for Austral Resources’ Anthill copper project, near Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia.

Austral has notified Thiess of its intention to enter exclusive negotiations to finalise the terms of a three-year mining services contract. Under the scope of works, Thiess will operate and maintain two mining fleets, undertaking mining services to support Austral’s copper production requirements.

Thiess CEO and Executive Chairman, Michael Wright, said: “Thiess has a long history operating in the Mount Isa region dating back to the early 1960s, and we’re very pleased to be back. With our selection as preferred contractor, Austral Resources has recognised our team’s specialist mining capability and our flexible approach to meet the needs of their mine.

“This project is very important to Thiess as we continue to diversify our business across commodities, mining regions and services. We are positioned well to support Austral Resources and the local community, with the right equipment, technical capability and operations team.”

The Anthill project is around 80 km northwest of Mount Isa and will extend copper production from the existing Lady Annie Operations.

Austral says CSA Global completed an updated mining study in April 2021 on Anthill resulting in a JORC 2012 compliant ore reserve of 5.1 Mt grading 0.94% Cu containing 47,700 t of copper. This study outlined that ore will be mined from two pits over a 40-month period. Total recovered copper from the heap leach process will be 40,400 t over a 44-month period.

Fortuna pours first gold at Lindero heap leach mine

Fortuna Silver Mines has reported the first gold pour from its Lindero mine, in the Province of Salta, Argentina.

The pour took place on October 20, 2020, producing 728 oz of gold.

It follows on from the starting of irrigation and leaching of ore placed on the heap leach pad, reported in early September.

Jorge A Ganoza, President, CEO and Director of Fortuna, said: “The first gold pour at Lindero, our third mine in the Americas, is a significant achievement for the company as we advance the mine’s ramp-up phase towards commercial production in the first (March) quarter of 2021. Lindero is a mine with reserves for a projected life of 13 years and is a pillar in Fortuna’s asset portfolio.”

Ganoza continued: “I want to take this opportunity to commend our Salta-based team’s commitment and hard work in achieving this milestone, especially in the context where COVID-19 related restrictions continue to pose multiple limitations.

“If conditions permit, we look forward to hosting an on-site inauguration ceremony of Argentina’s newest gold mine with provincial and federal authorities early next year.”

Equinox pours first gold at Castle Mountain mine

A month after declaring construction of the Phase 1 operation at its Castle Mountain gold mine was complete, Equinox Gold has poured first gold from the heap leach asset in California, USA.

“Pouring first gold at Castle Mountain, our newest producing mine in the Americas and our second operating mine in California (on top of Mesquite), launches what will be a long-life flagship asset for the company,” Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox Gold, said.

“I’d like to thank our employees, consultants, San Bernardino County and the State of California for their support and efforts as we brought the Castle Mountain Mine to production on time, on budget and with no lost-time injuries, all while managing through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Equinox commenced construction of the Phase 1 mine on October 30, 2019.

It commenced pre-production mining in early June and, as of September 17, had stacked more than 1.4 Mt of ore on the leach pad.

The heap leach operation is expected to process around 12,700 t/d of ore, with Phase 1 expected to produce, on average, 45,000 oz/y of gold. The company is completing a feasibility study for the potential Phase 2 expansion, which is expected to average 200,000 oz/y of gold. This feasibility study is targeted for completion by the end of the year.

US DFC investment paves way for Piauí nickel-cobalt production, TechMet says

The US International Development Finance Corp (DFC) has made a $25 million investment into TechMet Ltd, a private investment company with a portfolio of projects that produce, process and recycle metals tied to the production of electric vehicles (EVs), renewable energy systems and energy storage.

The funds will be used to bring into initial commercial production one of TechMet’s core investments, Brazilian Nickel Plc, which will be a low-cost nickel-cobalt producer in Piaui, in north-eastern Brazil, it said.

Piauí is a nickel laterite heap leaching project that has a combined measured and indicated JORC compliant resource of 72 Mt at 1% Ni and 0.05% Co. Brazilian Nickel has previously completed a large-scale demonstration of the heap leaching, purification and recovery of nickel and cobalt from the Piauí ore (pictured).

The DFC investment, part of TechMet’s Round 2 equity raising, follows on the heels of US President, Donald Trump, signing an Executive Order and declaring a National Emergency to expand the domestic mining industry, support mining jobs, alleviate unnecessary permitting delays, and reduce the US’ dependence on China for critical minerals.

Nickel and cobalt are two key ingredients in the production of lithium-ion batteries that power EVs and provide renewable energy storage. As battery technologies transform the global mobility and energy landscape, the demand growth for these metals is expected to accelerate.

TechMet said: “While China has built a position of overwhelming supply chain dominance, the United States’ continued reliance on imports for the supply of critical metals represents a significant threat to the long-term competitiveness of American industry. TechMet, aligned with US interests, is committed to developing an independent supply of these critical metals.”

Brian Menell, Chairman and CEO of TechMet, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this funding and support from DFC, which enables Brazilian Nickel Plc to begin the commercial production of nickel and cobalt products used in the production of EV batteries. Having this level of US support is a great endorsement of TechMet’s team and strategy.”

Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corp, a US Government agency, said: “This important financing will support economic growth in one of Brazil’s most underdeveloped areas. Investments in critical materials for advanced technology support development and advance US foreign policy.”

TechMet has been operational for three years and its core investments include:

  • Brazilian Nickel Plc;
  • Li-Cycle – lithium-ion battery recycling with a producing plant in Canada and a plant under construction in Rochester, New York;
  • US Vanadium – vanadium specialty chemicals production in Arkansas (USA); and
  • Tinco – one of the largest tin and tungsten mines in Rwanda.

TechMet also has an interest in a producing Rare Earths metals project and is developing TechMet Ventures to invest in new opportunities across the supply chain, it says.

GBM, Round Oak celebrate first gold doré at White Dam

GBM Resources and Round Oak Minerals’ White Dam gold-copper heap leach asset in South Australia, has poured its first gold doré bar.

The achievement follows the completion of the sulphidisation-acidification-recycling-thickening (SART) plant build back in July, which earned GBM its 50% stake in the asset. GBM says the SART plant, and associated copper concentrate production, continues to ramp-up broadly in-line with expectations, while identified optimisation opportunities are expected to drive further expanded production and reduced costs.

White Dam, around 50 km southwest of Broken Hill, 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).

The JV owners say evaluation of the estimated remaining resources of 4.6 Mt grading 0.7 g/t Au for 101,900 oz of gold has commenced to determine the viability of the extraction and leaching of this material.

Peter Rohner, Managing Director and CEO, said: “I would like to thank the Round Oak site team for their ongoing efforts in optimising the SART plant operation. While recent rain has resulted in some minor delays, the additional water is set to drive increased heap leach irrigation and thus higher gold and copper production in the near term.

“We are now working to finalise shipping of the first copper concentrates once the concentrate drying process is completed. The SART plant is meeting its design objectives of removing copper and increasing the recovery of the cyanide solution back into the circuit to increase gold recoveries, which together enhance the overall economics of the White Dam operation.”

Fortuna keeps Lindero on track for first gold pour in early October

Fortuna Silver Mines says it has started the irrigation and leaching of ore placed on the heap leach pad at the Lindero gold project, in Salta Province, Argentina.

This is ahead of the first gold pour, expected in early October.

Jorge A Ganoza, President, CEO and Director, said: “In spite of all the restrictions and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are managing to successfully advance Lindero in a safe and secure manner for our personnel and neighbours.

“With the start of irrigation, we achieved one more key milestone in the pre-production phase as we prepare for what follows, the first gold pour at our third producing mine.”

Back in July, Fortuna said it had completed the primary and secondary crushing circuits at Lindero and it had started stacking ore on the heap leach pad.

The night shift operations at the primary and secondary crushing circuits began in mid-August and, at month’s end, daily throughput peaked at 17,400 t/d or 93% of design capacity of 18,750 t/d, Fortuna said.

This has seen 277,000 tonnes of ore averaging 0.87 g/t Au, containing an estimated 7,750 oz of gold, placed on the leach pad as of August 31.

Meanwhile, irrigation and leaching of ore on the leach pad commenced on September 1. The company also noted that pre-commissioning of the ADR (adsorption, desorption and regeneration) plant was 80% complete.

GBM earns 50% stake in White Dam through SART plant delivery

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).

Fortuna starts stacking at Lindero heap leach gold mine

Fortuna Silver Mines has completed the primary and secondary crushing circuits at the Lindero gold project, in Salta Province, Argentina, with the company starting to stack ore on the heap leach pad.

As of the end of June, the overall project is now 97% complete, with the first gold pour expected at the end of the September quarter, Fortuna said.

Jorge A Ganoza, President, CEO and Director of Fortuna, said: “The successful commissioning of the primary and secondary crushing circuits and the start of stacking ore on the heap leach pad are key and much awaited milestones at Lindero. Our project team is delivering on schedule and budget according to the revised plan, despite the challenges and limitations of carrying on construction activities under COVID-19 related constraints.

“The next upcoming milestone is the start of heap irrigation which is scheduled for the end of August.”

The ramp-up phase of the primary and secondary crushing circuits will involve an increase in production until nominal rates of 18,750 t/d are achieved, the company said. Fortuna expects to achieve nominal rate production in the December quarter of 2020, inclusive of the tertiary high pressure grinding roll system and agglomeration plant.

Ore for the commissioning and initial ramp-up of the crushing circuit and stacking on the heap leach pad is being sourced from the medium-grade coarse ore stockpile inventory of around 1 Mt averaging 0.55 g/t Au.

During the period from July to December, an estimated 1.7-1.9 Mt of ore is scheduled to be placed on the leach pad with an average gold grade of 1-1.1 g/t, the company said. The estimated stripping ratio during this period is 0.68-0.75.

Final construction activities related to the process ponds, ADR (adsorption, desorption and regeneration) and SART (sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening) plants continues with electrical and piping installations progressing according to plan, Fortuna said. The process pond and ADR plant electric rooms have been energised, with pre-commissioning of the solution handling system commencing on July 11 with the barren pond pumping equipment.

Lindero has been designed as an 18,750 t/d owner-operated open-pit mine with a pit life of 13 years based on current mineral reserves.

Rio2 and STRACON establish mining and construction alliance for Fenix gold project

Rio2 Ltd says it has taken another key step towards the development of its Fenix gold project, in Chile, by selecting STRACON SA as the lead mining services contractor for the project.

Both companies have executed an early contractor involvement (ECI) agreement for early works associated with contract mining services. Under the ECI agreement, the parties will work exclusively over the coming months to further optimise the mining and civil construction aspects of the project and conclude contract documentation.

The scope of the mining services contract will include mining of ore at the rate of 7.3 Mt/y (20,000 t/d), waste mining, drilling, blasting, hauling, supply of operating personnel and mining equipment, supervision and management, dust suppression and road maintenance. The scope also includes water transportation from Copiapó to the mine site and maintenance of the entire mobile fleet of equipment plus all pre-mining and civil construction activities including the construction of platforms, leach pad, ponds, access roads and waste material deposits.

The financial terms of the mining contract will use an alliancing-style commercial framework based on the mine plan, methodologies and productivity estimate assumptions contained in the prefeasibility study, which outlined a heap leach gold mine producing an average of 93,000 oz/y during the first 13 years and 50,000 oz/y during the final three years of production as stockpiled ore is being crushed and leached.

The environmental baseline study for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Fenix gold project has been progressing since November 2018. During 2019, engineering works and studies were completed for inclusion in the EIA. In January 2020, the information gathering stage for the baseline study was finalised, with the EIA completed and filed with the Environmental Impact Assessment System in the March quarter. Environmental approval is expected in the June quarter of 2021.

The preparation of sectorial permit applications is currently in process and will be submitted in conjunction with the filing of the EIA. The approval of sectorial permits is expected in the September quarter of 2021 and the start of earthworks for construction of the project is targeted for the December quarter of 2021.

The basis for Rio2 establishing a mining and construction alliance with STRACON at the Fenix gold project is a best for project business strategy, the company said. Together with STRACON, the Rio2 management team collaborated, implemented and executed with this same approach when they built and operated the La Arena and Shahuindo gold mines in Peru with Rio Alto Mining.

At Fenix, Rio2 and STRACON will work together as an integrated team, dedicated to exceeding goals, controlling budgets and adding value through exceptional performance while working in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner focused on every detail of the mining and construction process, Rio2 said.

“The alliance will implement an inclusive social policy as a priority based on the hiring of local personnel and service companies from Copiapó and the Atacama Region,” it added.

The payment model of an alliance includes reimbursement of 100% of contractor project costs plus a fee (corporate overheads and profit); a key performance indicator-based regime that rewards for outstanding performance and punishes poor performance; and unanimous, best for project, management and decision making and the selection of an integrated owner/contractor team on the basis of best person for each position and avoiding duplication of roles, Rio 2 said.

Alex Black, President and CEO of Rio2, said: “The signing of this ECI agreement with STRACON, a leading mining and civil construction contractor in Latin America, forms a key part of Rio2’s strategy to prepare for next year’s construction phase of our Fenix gold project.

“The Rio2 management team is pleased to work again with STRACON, this time in Chile, and look forward to further optimising the mining and construction solution for the project and finalising contract documentation in readiness for next year’s work program.”

Steve Dixon, Chief Executive Officer of STRACON, said: “The project will be delivered under a collaborative alliance agreement, a framework which has been successfully utilised over the past 10 years at several of STRACON’s projects throughout Latin America.”

Alio Gold looks to new loading and hauling equipment for production boost

Alio Gold has signed lease agreements for the acquisition of new loading and hauling equipment at the Florida Canyon mine, in Nevada, USA.

The fleet is comprised of thirteen 90-t haul trucks and three matched wheel loaders, Alio said.

On top of this, a maintenance and services contract has been signed that provides guaranteed mechanical availability of the new fleet and encompasses all required maintenance activities over the life of the lease agreement, according to the company.

Both agreements are for approximately five years, depending on the actual hours of operation, after which the equipment can be purchased for some $2 million, Alio said, adding that the existing fleet will be retired as the new fleet becomes operational.

“Florida Canyon is well advanced on commissioning the new fleet with four trucks and one loader currently production ready; five additional trucks and one loader are currently on site in various stages of assembly; and the remaining four trucks and loader are due for delivery in October,” the company said.

Alio acquired the Florida Canyon gold mine during a business combination transaction with Rye Patch Gold in 2018. The heap leach operation produced 47,353 oz of gold and 31,993 oz of silver in 2018.

Mark Backens, President and CEO of Alio Gold, said acquiring the new loading and haulage fleet removed the primary cause for the underperformance of the mine.

“With availability now guaranteed, we will be better able to achieve our production objectives,” he said. “Once the fleet is fully operational in November, we expect to see increased ore movement leading to higher gold production and lower cash costs. We look forward to providing the market additional guidance for 2020 once the new equipment is fully operational.”

In addition, Florida Canyon has received all required permits to initiate construction of the second heap leach pad. Contractor mobilisation has commenced, and long lead-time items have been ordered. Construction is expected to take around six months and could be completed in stages to facilitate early placement and leaching of ore.

“Receipt of the construction permit for the second phase of the leach pads is a major milestone for Florida Canyon and positions the company nicely for increased profitable production in 2020,” Backens added.