Swick Mining Services is celebrating a hat-trick of contract drilling wins with the Barrick Gold and Newmont Goldcorp-owned Nevada Gold Mines JV, Silver Lake Resources and Northern Star Resources.
The Australia-listed contractor has been awarded a three-year contract extension at the Nevada Gold Mines JV, with the company’s US division extending a relationship that started in 2013. The work with Silver Lake Resources involved being selected as the preferred tenderer, subject to contract execution, to provide underground diamond coring services at its Mount Monger operation, in Western Australia. And, lastly, Northern Star Resources has increased the scope of work for Swick at the Jundee gold mine, also in Western Australia, from nine to 14 full time underground diamond coring rigs.
The awards secure work for 18 rigs (eight existing and 10 additional rigs) and increases Swick’s contracted work in hand to A$353 million ($248 million), the company said.
Swick Managing Director, Kent Swick, said: “We are delighted to be deepening our relationships with existing clients and, in the case of the new work with Silver Lake, returning to a project where we have extensive experience.”
He added: “It is particularly pleasing that our international strategy is yielding significant results, with a third of our total deployed underground diamond drilling rigs now operating outside of Australia. By the end of September, we will have at least 22 rigs operating in our international operations including the USA, Portugal and Spain – all at major mines with Tier One clients.”
In Nevada with the Nevada Gold Mines JV, Swick currently operates eight rigs between the Turquoise Ridge and Cortez Hill gold mines as well as the Goldrush project, it said. As part of the contract extension, Swick will be deploying two additional rigs to these operations.
Swick undertakes underground diamond core drilling and underground RC drilling at the projects, with the contract extension securing work for 10 rigs at fixed pricing for two years, with a rise and fall applicable for the third year. In total, the Nevada Gold Mines JV produced in excess of 4 Moz of gold in 2018, more than double the next largest gold mining complex.
The contract extension, combined with the contract recently awarded to Swick at the Northern Star-owned Pogo gold mine in Alaska, will see Swick take a leading position in the US underground drilling market, it said, adding that the first four underground rigs at Pogo commenced drilling in June.
The Silver Lake Mount Monger contract is expected to be for a period of two years with a provision for a 12-month extension, Swick said. The contract will commence in August, with three rigs undertaking drilling across the Mount Monger site, namely the Daisy Milano, Cock-eyed Bob and Maxwell’s underground mines.
Swick says it worked at the Daisy Milano project for a decade from 2007 before it was awarded to another contractor in 2016. The Mount Monger operations produced 35,172 oz of gold in the March quarter.
At Jundee, meanwhile, Swick says it will steadily increase its fleet and manning from July to October to meet the increased scope. Northern Star is Swick’s largest client – with the Jundee contract Swick’s largest ever project – and will operate this expanded service under the current contract agreement.
Kent Swick said: “Once we reach 14 full time rigs at Jundee, it will represent a record number of rigs that Swick has had at any one mine, and the largest Australian underground diamond drilling program I am aware of since we have been in the underground contracting business for over 20 years.”