Tag Archives: Hellyer

NQ Minerals upgrades Hellyer processing plant, aims to maximise recoveries

NQ Minerals says it has successfully increased plant throughput at its flagship Hellyer gold mine, in Tasmania, Australia, following an upgrade and circuit optimisation exercise.

The plant now has a capacity just over 1.3 Mt/y (1.2 Mt/y at 92% plant availability), up from the 835,877 t throughput level achieved in 2019, NQ said.

“The new production rate of 150 t/h (1.314 Mt/y) is now being achieved after a June plant upgrade and circuit optimisation exercise,” the company said. “This new rate compares to 2019 Hellyer full year plant throughput totalling 835,877 t (average 103 t/h at 92% plant availability).”

A spokesperson for the company said the exercise in June saw a lot of work carried out on upsizing existing pumps and pipework to handle the extra flow rates of the various process streams. This saw the installation of bigger pumps and pipes, and the replacement of worn components in the plant.

“Process optimisation works are now underway to ensure that the plant achieves maximum recoveries and concentrate specifications at these new higher production rates,” NQ Minerals said. This could see new automation equipment installed on some of the process circuit, according to the spokesperson.

“Engineering assessments will continue to plan for further production rate increases later in the year, should higher production rates be required,” the company added.

David Lenigas, Chairman of NQ Minerals, said the Hellyer plant upgrade exercise had been successfully brought in some six months ahead of expectation.

“The increase in saleable mine product will have a very positive effect on the company’s top and bottom line revenues going forward, and will assist NQ greatly with its ability to service ongoing debt obligations and strongly position the mine for increased profitability as commodity prices improve with the world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

NQ Minerals purchased the Hellyer operations in 2017, and as Phase 1 of its Hellyer operational plan, re-opened Hellyer in late 2018 with a tailing retreatment operation designed to last for at least 10 years. Production will initially focus on lead and zinc recovery from the reserves with gold and silver credits.

Phase 2 of Hellyer’s re-opening plan is to re-open the underground mine, which has 1.175 Mt of underground JORC resources grading 8.6% Zn, 4.9% Pb, 96 g/t Ag and 1.66 g/t Au.

NQ Minerals acquires Beaconsfield mine, plots new underground decline

NQ Minerals has added the historic Beaconsfield gold mine, in Tasmania, Australia, to its growing portfolio, with the London-listed company saying it plans to recommission the processing plant and re-develop the underground mine with a new decline.

The company announced this week that it had signed all necessary agreements and made the necessary payments to purchase and take immediate possession of the Beaconsfield mine.

The mine has historic production of circa-1.8 Moz of gold averaging around 15 g/t to its name, and was closed in 2012 due to the low gold price at that time.

“The gold price has since increased by over 100% and the company plans to re-open the mine as soon as practicably possible,” NQ Minerals said.

The 350,000 t/y processing plant, which is currently under care and maintenance, will be recommissioned as part of this plan.

NQ Minerals strategy for re-opening the underground mine, meanwhile, involves developing new modern mine decline access into the existing Beaconsfield mine from surface to reconnect into the existing mine workings at the lower section of the orebody, which comprises all of the current stated gold resources, the company said.

“This new decline will be capable of running large modern mining equipment and men/materials/rock from surface to anywhere in the mine underground workings and will allow for the most efficient low-cost operations possible,” it said.

The main decline currently in the mine is a 5 m x 5 m access way (running down at an angle of 1 m for every 7 m in horizontal length, pictured) that starts 400 m from surface all the way to the bottom of the mine at 1,200 m from surface, according to a NQ Minerals spokesperson.

“The main shaft that accesses that decline is now out of use and is part of the Beaconsfield Heritage Museum,” the spokesperson clarified.

The plan is to run a new 6 m x 6 m decline from surface (popping out near the processing plant) and connect it to the old decline at 400 m depth at the bottom of the Hart Shaft, according to the spokesperson.

“This way, we can run very large diesel trucks (50 t capacity), large front-end loaders and big drill and blast equipment from surface to anywhere in the mine,” the spokesperson added.

Up until 2012, all the big mining equipment had to be dismantled and taken down the old shaft in pieces and re-assembled at the 400 m depth level before it could get used. This big equipment is still down the mine, according to the spokesperson.

“This old way of getting mining equipment down the mine was very slow and very expensive,” the spokesperson explained.

“The other good thing about a new access to surface is the mine can also have smaller-sized equipment easily moved around the mine for mining of the gold orebody, ie equipment suitably sized for the job it has to do,” the spokesperson said.

“The combination of the above is that this will enable economies of scale and economies of suitability.”

NQ, which is currently increasing production at its flagship Hellyer gold mine in Tasmania, Australia, announced a new JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate of the lower section of the Beaconsfield gold mine of 1.454 Mt grading 10.3 g/t for 483,000 oz of gold, earlier this year.

David Lenigas, NQ’s Chairman, said: “Beaconsfield is an exceptional high-grade gold asset and will provide a solid platform to bring the company’s second mine in Australia into production.

“The company is now focused on bringing the Beaconsfield gold processing plant back into operational status as soon as practicable. The mine has a long and rich history in northern Tasmania, and we understand the importance of this heritage. We are looking forward to bringing jobs and economic activity back to Beaconsfield.”

NQ Minerals in for ‘transformational year’ after completing Hellyer commissioning

London-listed NQ Minerals has completed commissioning of the Hellyer processing plant, in Tasmania, Australia, with production during the December quarter reaching 3,991 t of lead, 1,537 t of zinc, and 4,291 t of pyrite.

This output realised approximately £3.2 million ($4.1 million) in sales, according to NQ Minerals.

“The company is now consistently producing all three concentrates with sales occurring on a weekly basis,” NQ Minerals said.

Held within four separate areas, the Hellyer tailings total a JORC-compliant resource of 9.5 Mt, hosting gold at 2.61 g/t Au for 796,000 oz, silver at 104 g/t Ag for 32 Moz Ag, lead at 3.03% Pb for 287,800 t and zinc at 2.5% Zn for 237,900 t. In addition to these tailings, the Hellyer mine assets include a large pre-existing mill facility and full supporting infrastructure, including a direct rail line to port.

NQ Minerals previously agreed two separate offtake agreements with Traxys for Hellyer’s products, where the trading company will receive all of the precious metals and lead and zinc produced over the first five years.

Brian Stockbridge, Chairman of NQ Minerals, said: “With commissioning substantially complete, NQ is now a producer. Having completed the acquisition and refurbishment of Hellyer over the prior two years, the culmination of management’s efforts will make 2019 a transformational year for the company. With the change in status to a producer, we believe there is substantial potential to unlock shareholder value.”

NQ Minerals wraps up Hellyer offtake with latest Traxys deal

NQ Minerals, a week after confirming the first sale of concentrate from its Hellyer tailings project, has entered into an additional marketing and offtake agreement with Traxys Europe that covers all the precious metal and pyrite concentrate to be produced over the first five years of operation.

The agreement includes the facility for prepayment against concentrate deliveries and provides Hellyer with access to Traxys’s extensive global network and experienced marketing and distribution team, NQ said.

NQ Minerals’ 2017 acquisition of Hellyer, in Tasmania, Australia, allows the opportunity to fully process the mine’s tailings.

Held within four separate areas, the tailings total a JORC-compliant resource of 9.5 Mt host to gold at 2.61 g/t Au for 796,000 oz, silver at 104 g/t Ag for 32 Moz Ag, lead at 3.03% Pb for 287,800 t and zinc at 2.5% Zn for 237,900 t. In addition to these tailings, the Hellyer mine assets include a large pre-existing mill facility and full supporting infrastructure, including a direct rail line to port.

The company has successfully ramped up the mill since acquisition, with flotation commissioning commencing at Hellyer in September after successful tails dredging and pumping slurry from the main tailings dam to the mill.

NQ Minerals and Traxys previously entered into two marketing and offtake agreements, combined with a $10 million secured prepayment facility agreement, with Traxys for the sale of lead and zinc concentrates over the first five years of operations.