Resolute Mining
The Nolans processing plant and Sarsfield open pit

ASX-listed Resolute Mining advises the Queensland Government has extended the Prescribed Project status of the Ravenswood expansion project to 30 November 2020.

The assistance provided by the streamlined administrative process provided by Prescribed Project status has been essential in ensuring Resolute has received the regulatory approvals required for the Ravenswood expansion project (REP) and in providing opportunity for further project enhancements.

Under relevant Queensland state legislation, a Prescribed Project declaration is designed to facilitate the approval process for projects deemed to be of economic or social significance to Queensland or a region within the state.

This is achieved by empowering the Coordinator General to actively assist in the planning, delivery and coordination of all required government and regulatory approvals to ensure there are no unnecessary delays, while ensuring the project’s environmental impacts are properly managed.

Resolute’s MD and CEO, John Welborn is delighted to receive an extension of the government’s support for the project:

“The Queensland Government shares our view that the economic and social benefits of continuing gold mining in Ravenswood are significant for the region and for Queensland.

“The prolonged life of Mt Wright, and the collaborative and proactive approach to receiving regulatory approvals for our expansion plans, is allowing further enhancement opportunities to be identified and progressed.”

Resolute’s Expansion Plan

In July 2018, Resolute announced an updated REP that would deliver 1.5 Moz of gold production over a 13-year mine life with Life of Mine (LOM) All-In Sustaining Costs (AISC) reduced to A$1,097 per ounce (oz) (US$823/oz) and average gold production of approximately 115,000 oz per year.

The July 2018 Updated REP proposed the following staged development:

  • Mining at Mt Wright to be completed at the end of FY19, with mining and processing of 540 kt of ore in the current financial year
  • Mining of Nolans East to be completed in September 2018, with processing of stockpiled ore supplemented by existing low-grade stocks to the end of 2019
  • Processing plant to be upgraded to 3.2 Mtpa (currently 2.8 Mtpa) by the start of 2020
  • Mining and processing of the Buck Reef West open pit from July 2019 (Stage 1)
  • Expansion of the Nolans processing plant to 5.0 Mtpa in FY24; and
  • Mining and processing of ore from the Sarsfield open pit from FY25 (Stage 2).

Since the July 2018 Updated REP was announced, further potential enhancements of the project have been identified.

These include:

  • The probable extension of mining at Mt Wright until late 2019; and
  • The potential for a single stage processing plant expansion to 5.0 Mtpa.

Initial assessments of this scenario indicate materially better financial outcomes would be generated from the resulting increase in average gold production to approximately 130,000 ozpa.

Should this plan be adopted the commencement of mining of Buck Reef West and processing of this ore through the expanded processing plant would be deferred by between three and six months.

REP approvals progress

All major approvals required for the Updated REP to proceed have already been received by Resolute including:

Receipt of Amended Environmental Authority for the recommencement of mining at the Sarsfield open pit

Completion of Heritage Agreements covering areas of the proposed REP mining landscape and;

Granting of the Buck Reef West Environmental Authority Amendment Application and the associated Buck Reef West.

These approvals and agreements have been achieved with the assistance of the Coordinator General and the relevant government departments.

Resolute has conducted a careful process aimed at balancing the needs of heritage, the natural environment, economic development and community.

The extension of the Prescribed Project status will assist the company in finalising a small number of additional regulatory approvals that will be requested to allow project works on an enhanced REP program to commence, including:

  • Approval of submitted applications for additional mining leases to cover the operational footprint of the Buck Reef West open pit
  • Application for a mining lease extension to accommodate the expansion of the Nolans Tailings Storage Facility (NTSF); and
  • Application for an Environmental Authority amendment to permit the NTSF extension and allow for in-pit tailings storage in the new Buck Reef West open pit

All applications will be submitted by January 2019, with final approvals expected by June 2019.

Resolute will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities on the various aspects of the project to deliver a new long life mine operation at Ravenswood.