Aureus Mining, the TSX- and AIM-listed West African gold producer announced on Tuesday that the process plant is operating in line with both design specifications and management expectations.
Over the past 60 days of operations the process plant has achieved an average of 88% of design throughput capacity. [quote]
During February, plant throughput totalled 90 099 t of ore milled, resulting in the recovery of over 9 000 ounces of gold, with operating recovery levels of 90% achieved by the end of February.
The value of the gold produced prior to commercial production being declared will be deducted from the capitalised construction costs of New Liberty, rather than recorded as revenue, the company said.
Following the declaration of commercial production, the company’s operations team will continue to focus on fine tuning the process plant to further improve its overall operational performance.
The New Liberty process plant has now processed 503 286 t of run of mine (ROM) fresh ore and lower grade oxide material. Gold production achieved for the calendar year is currently over 14 000 oz. To date there have been 25 shipments of gold doré from New Liberty for smelting and refining at the MKS PAMP refinery in Switzerland, resulting in sales of approximately 31 500 oz of gold.
Meanwhile, overall plant performance levels have continued to increase towards design specifications as a result of the on-going process plant optimisation activities at New Liberty.
Following the introduction of a fresh carbon supply into the carbon-in-leach (CIL) tanks of the process plant, overall gold recovery has continued to improve.
Mining operations at New Liberty continue to progress, with ROM stockpiles currently at 70 844 t of fresh ore at a grade of 2.59 g/t and oxide and transitional stockpiles at 81 881 t at a grade of 1.32 g/t.
Aureus Mining continues to work towards finalising an updated mine plan for the project, and MonuRent, the New Liberty mining fleet provider, has purchased and shipped to Liberia five new 100 t capacity Komatsu HD785 rigid haul trucks and one PC1250 excavator.
The new fleet equipment is scheduled to be delivered to New Liberty and mobilised ready for operations during April 2016.
“Following a significant amount of hard work by our operations team, focusing upon ramping up plant performance and gold production levels towards design capacity, we are delighted to be able to announce resolution of the commissioning issues at New Liberty and to declare commercial production, effective 1 March 2016,” says Aureus Mining president and CEO David Reading.