As a result of the on-going process plant optimisation activities at New Liberty, which were started by the company in mid-January 2016, overall plant recovery levels have increased towards design specifications.
Continued optimisation of the gravity circuit has shown incremental improvements and there have been further operational improvements in CIL leach kinetics. Additionally, on-going preventative maintenance activities have allowed plant availability to improve and have resulted in more stable operating conditions.
Throughout the year to date, the ball mill has been operating at an average of 82% of its designed capacity, including planned downtime for ongoing optimisation.
It is anticipated that overall plant performance will continue to improve towards design levels throughout the coming weeks, with commercial production expected to be declared by the end of March 2016.
Aureus Mining will declare full commercial production once the entire process plant is operating at full design capacity and in a manner consistent with management expectations.
As a direct result of the operational improvements achieved within the process plant, gold recovery levels have steadily increased from approximately 73% in mid-January to reach an average recovery of 85% throughout February 2016, and has continued to increase to in excess of 87% recovery during the last seven days of operations.
Further improvements in gold recovery are expected following the introduction of new carbon into the CIL circuit of the processing plant.
Gold production achieved for the calendar year currently amounts to 11 001 oz, with the cumulative total of gold recovered during the past four gold pours (over the last 22 days) totaling 7 323 oz of gold.
During January 2016, 5 478 oz of gold was poured and shipped to Switzerland for smelting and refining, and a further 5 523 oz has been shipped to date in the first three shipments of February 2016.
Production achieved during the 2015 calendar year totalled 17 172 oz of gold.
To date, the New Liberty process plant has processed 426 523 t of run of mine (ROM) fresh ore and lower grade oxide material.
Mining operations at New Liberty continue to progress, with ROM stockpiles currently standing at 79 525 t of fresh ore at a grade of 2.40 g/t and oxide and transitional stockpiles standing at 74 014 t at a grade of 1.31 g/t.
Meanwhile, Aureus Mining continues to progress with the development of an updated mine plan which will be finalised by the end of February. This business plan will form the basis of discussions between the company and Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank and the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, (collectively the lenders) to agree upon an appropriate debt repayment schedule following the deferral of the first debt repayment which was due on 31 January 2016.
Once discussions between the company and its lenders are completed a further update will be communicated to the market.
“The improvements in gold recovery and production at New Liberty are encouraging and are a direct result of ongoing optimisation procedures as we progress towards achieving commercial production by the end of March.
“We fully expect to see further recovery improvements in the months ahead, and now look forward to continuing to optimise the New Liberty process plant and deliver on the exciting potential of New Liberty,” says Aureus Mining president and CEO David Reading.
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