The crushing circuit at Aureus Mining's New Liberty gold mine in Liberia, West Africa
Aureus Mining, the dual listed gold miner has made good progress towards the controlled start-up of its New Liberty gold processing plant in Liberia.

This follows a temporary suspension of the processing operation on 10 May 2016 after experiencing problems with the detoxification circuit in the plant.

The detoxification circuit had not been operating to original design specifications resulting in higher concentrations of cyanide WAD (weak acid dissociated cyanide) in the process effluent.

The crushing circuit at Aureus Mining's New Liberty gold mine in Liberia, West Africa
The crushing circuit at Aureus Mining’s New Liberty gold mine in Liberia, West Africa

Aureus Mining had resultantly been operating with process water in a closed circuit with zero discharge from the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF). However, recent heavy rainfall inadvertently resulted in a small overflow of effluent from the TSF onto the wetlands area (within the mining lease area).

Following this, Aureus Mining is now working towards a recommencement of processing operations at New Liberty within the next two weeks, subject to final approval of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME).

The company said in a statement that it is working closely with both the MLME and the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) to oversee the restart of processing operations and to ensure that this process is undertaken in accordance with the International Cyanide Management Code.

The EPA has granted permission to proceed with the construction of holding zones within the wetlands area downstream of the TSF which will enable better aeration of surface waters and improved retention times.

Aureus Mining has engaged technical experts, including experienced detoxification experts from Maelgwyn Mineral Services Africa and TSF design experts Knight Piésold Consulting to assist with various modifications within the process plant and detoxification circuit to ensure that discharges onto the TSF comply with its environmental and operating permits. [quote]

A number of technical studies by international consultants are also underway to review the company’s environmental and social action plans and ensure compliance with International Finance Corporation’s performance standards and the equator principles.

Aureus Mining said that it continues to be in constructive dialogue with its suppliers and lenders during this period.

The company reported that it is also continuing with mining activities, with ore being stockpiled for future processing.

Ore stockpiles currently stand at approximately 73 431 t at a grade of 3.78 g/t of gold, with the company having achieved gold production of 30 000 oz of gold to date for 2016.