Tag Archives: Heron Resources

Heron starts processing underground ore at Woodlawn zinc-copper mine

Heron Resources says it has started crushing and processing the first underground ore from the high-grade G2 lens at its Woodlawn zinc-copper mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The ore from the G2 lens was mined 135 m below surface and was discovered during Heron’s on-mine exploration drilling programs during 2017.

Since the commencement of the underground campaign, around 10,000 t of G2 stoped ore was delivered to the plant at 3.9% Zn, 1.3% Pb, 0.3% Cu, 31 g/t Ag and 0.6 g/t Au. This was in addition to 6,000 t of G “hangingwall” ore at 4.7% Zn, 2.6% Pb, 0.7% Cu, 268 g/t Ag, 2 g/t Au; plus 2,000 t of high-grade development ore at 7.3% Zn, 3.7% Pb, 4.9% Cu, 30 g/t Ag and 0.9 g/t Au.

The first stages of commissioning were completed using tailings reclaim feed material, with some preliminary commissioning of the crushing and ball mill plant during August and September.

Heron says the plant is now receiving run of mine underground ore and will complete a campaign solely on this feed source. This will facilitate the next phase of commissioning for the crusher and ball mill and marks the start of the ramp-up phase for this part of the circuit.

In steady state, the plant will alternate between campaigns of tailings reclaim feed and underground ore.

With stope ore now being mined and processed, paste fill activities have also been progressed, with the final commissioning of the paste plant and a number of placements underground of paste fill now complete.

Heron’s Chairman, Stephen Dennis, said: “The first ore mined and now processed from the G2 lens is a significant achievement for the operations at Woodlawn. The high-grade G2 lens was planned to be the first underground ore through the plant and will generate early revenue in these first stages of underground mining.”

The forecast development includes access to the G3 (north) area that contains stopes that are in an independent sequence from the current G2, G3 (south) and GH stoping area.

Processing of reclaimed tailings is ongoing and underground ore campaigns are being scheduled in line with the current production plan. Ramp-up of the processing plant continues and the plant is scheduled to achieve rated capacity on a sustainable basis from mid-2020.

PYBAR to trial autonomous loading at Dargues underground gold mine

PYBAR Mining Services says it is applying new technology to several automation projects it is currently working on, including Diversified Minerals’ Dargues underground gold asset and the Heron Resources-owned Woodlawn zinc-copper operation, both of which are in New South Wales, Australia.

Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Rouse, says the company’s approach has always been to get the basics right using traditional means and then adding technology to enhance its capabilities. “This guiding principle is being applied to several current automation projects,” he said.

New Cat R1700 underground loaders being deployed at the Dargues gold mine are undergoing staged testing that will result in them moving towards improved automation in early 2020, according to PYBAR.

Dargues is owned by Diversified Minerals, an associated company of PYBAR Mining Services. The mine is expected to have a 355,000 t/y capacity gold processing facility comprising crushing, milling, flotation and filtration circuits and produce a sulphide concentrate for export. Dargues is expected to produce an average of 50,000 oz/y of gold in the first six years of production.

Testing of the LHDs has featured the use of Cat’s next generation MXZ technology, which includes traction control and Autodig, where the machine digs the load instead of the operator, PYBAR said. “Both technologies have made an impact with full buckets consistently being achieved,” the company added.

The next step in the process will involve setting up tele-remote operation from the surface in time for stoping in early 2020, according to the contractor.

PYBAR was part of the team at Ramelius Resources’ Vivien gold mine in Western Australia where the first global underground trial of the Cat R1700 loader took place in October 2017. This followed a global launch of the machine at MINExpo 2016.

Another project has seen PYBAR collaborate with Emesent to test automated drones at the Dargues and Woodlawn operations.

LiDAR and SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) technology is used to track the drones underground and keep them away from obstacles, according to PYBAR, with the trials having delivered some favourable outcomes; among them the swift processing of information gathered by the drones.

“The technology has great potential and PYBAR is investigating how best it can be applied to our business,” it said.

Heron concentrates on 1.5 Mt/y production goal at Woodlawn zinc-copper mine

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.


Heron Resources kicks off commissioning at Woodlawn zinc-copper mine

Heron Resources has started commissioning at the Woodlawn zinc-copper-lead project in New South Wales, Australia, paving the way for first production in the March quarter.

The ASX-listed company said the owners and contractor commissioning teams for the combined underground mine and tailing retreatment project were now in place, while the hydraulic tailings retreatment preparations had started with infrastructure energised and water testing underway.

In addition, the process plant commissioning had started with testing of the plant control circuits. Heron noted commissioning of the water treatment plant was well advanced.

Heron said: “The hydraulic mining operation, alongside the underground operations that commenced in September 2018, will provide a second ore source to be processed through the new processing plant.”

The hydraulic mining operation covers the recently arrived hydraulic monitors and the associated high-pressure water, reclaim and slurry transfer pumps, with commissioning activities involving the functional testing of equipment in the circuit (including the commissioning of the trash screen and transfer pumps at the transfer station).

Commissioning is expected to ramp up over a four-to-eight-week period and will include the hydraulic excavation of the main channels in preparation for ore commissioning of the process plant with progression to full production rates, Heron said.

“The EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor has commenced its commissioning activities in the main process plant, with low voltage and control circuit testing underway,” Heron said.

“These activities (dry, wet and ore commissioning) will continue through stages into quarter one, 2019, when first production is expected. As at the end of November, the EPC contractor reported commissioning at 5% complete.”

“In conjunction with the commissioning preparation-related activities that have been occurring over the past few months, the Woodlawn site team have also been progressing production readiness preparation.”

This has led to the first fill consumables orders being placed, in addition to the operation being bulked out with enough personnel for initial commissioning.

Woodlawn is envisaged as a 1.5 Mt/y operation able to produce 40,000 t/y of zinc, 10,000 t/y of copper and 12,000 t/y of lead at steady-state production over a 9.3-year mine life. This is based on a reserve base of 2.8 Mt at 14% ZnEq from underground and 9.5 Mt at 6% ZnEq from reprocessed tailings.

Underground mining, being carried out by contractor Pybar, kicked off in October.

Pybar starts underground mining at Heron’s Woodlawn zinc project

Pybar Mining Services has started up underground mining at Heron Resources’ Woodlawn zinc project in New South Wales, Australia, ahead of full commissioning by the end of the year.

The company entered into a four-year underground mining contract with Pybar in February and the contractor has now kicked off mining. This includes the ground support of box cut walls and the first portal blast of the decline.

Heron said the overall project, as of the end of August, was 73% complete, with earthworks substantially concluded, equipment purchasing at 98%, concrete almost complete and offsite fabrication 92% signed off. Sedgman is the EPC contractor.

Woodlawn is envisaged as a 1.5 Mt/y operation able to produce 40,000 t/y of zinc, 10,000 t/y of copper and 12,000 t/y of lead at steady-state production over a 9.3-year mine life. This is based on a reserve base of 2.8 Mt at 14% ZnEq from underground and 9.5 Mt at 6% ZnEq from reprocessed tailings.

The operation is set to use an IsaMill™ to treat the zinc-rich reclaimed tailings, as well as polymetallic primary ore in different processing modes. The 3 MW 10,000 IsaMill comes with an IsaCharger™ media delivery system, as well as commissioning services from Glencore Technology.

Heron’s Managing Director Wayne Taylor said: “Exploration over the last four years has defined a very high-grade, high-quality resource and reserve position, and the access which has now commenced will enable us to deliver underground ore into the processing plant in 2019.

“Once underground, our geological team will focus on further expanding the known mineralised positions to build upon the excellent and cost-effective work they have undertaken to date.

“Elsewhere on site, I am pleased to report that good progress continues to be made with all aspects of the build, and that works remain on schedule for the commissioning by the end of the year.”