Lane Xang Minerals Limited (LXML), owned by China’s Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining, has kicked off exploration for what could be Lao PDR’s first modern underground mine below the existing Sepon open-pit mine.
Sepon Mine employees recently conducted a traditional ceremony on an auspicious day to celebrate the breaking of ground for an exploration decline at Sepon mine site.
“Sepon has thousands of years of mining history,” Paul Harris, LXML General Manager, said. “This new development will extend the life of Sepon mine with modern equipment and advanced mining techniques.”
LXML is introducing valuable expertise and equipment to Lao PDR to prepare for the project and is confident of success, it said. Exploration work at the underground mine will commence in an existing pit at the Sepon mine, with LXML consulting with Lao Government agencies regarding specifications and potential impact.
“I am very proud of LXML’s contribution to socio-economic development in Lao PDR,” Harris said. “Chifeng Gold has invested considerable resources in plant and equipment to recommence and expand gold production at the Sepon project. I am certain that this underground project will set a good example for other mining operators in the country and offer an opportunity to sustainably develop mineral resources at other sites using similar techniques.”
LXML Sepon has been operating an open-pit gold and copper mine since 2003. Over the past two decades, LXML has contributed over $1.6 billion in direct revenue through taxes and royalties to the Lao Government, and hundreds of millions in indirect benefits through community development, employment and training, according to the company.
In 2020, China’s Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining started processing oxide gold ore from the Sepon mine in Laos, operated by subsidiary LXML. This marked the first time the project had produced gold in over six years after MMG, the previous owner, stopped producing the yellow metal at the mine to focus on copper.