Caption: Nolans process plant overlooking mill 1 and mill 2. Image Resolute

By Elizabeth Fabri

MINING at Resolute’s north Queensland Ravenswood mine could extend out to 2029 if a $258 million expansion receives a gold tick of approval.

Results from the Ravenswood Expansion Project Feasibility Study (REP Study) confirmed the mine could operate for a further 13 years and produce about 120,000 ounces of gold a year at all-in-sustaining costs of $1166/oz.

The news followed Resolute’s June announcement that it was recommencing open-pit mining at Ravenswood’s Nolans East in August, extending the mine life out to October 2017.

Resolute managing director and chief executive John Welborn said the REP Study was a ‘tremendous’ achievement for the company.

Under the new expansion Mt Wright underground mine would be completed, along with the development of three open pits at Nolans East, Sarsfield and Buck Reef West, and would secure future employment of 280 staff.

On 27 September, the company announced an underwritten institutional placement to raise $150 million to help fund the Ravenswood extension, and drilling and evaluation activity at the Bibiani Gold Mine in Ghana.

“A year ago we were facing the prospect of closing our operations at Ravenswood when the Mt Wright underground reserves were exhausted,” Mr Welborn said.

“We now look forward with confidence to a highly profitable 13-year mine life at Ravenswood.”

“Importantly, the project has low up-front capital requirements with total project capital staged over six years.”

The REP Study has also identified further significant potential upside at Ravenswood.

“Projects such as Welcome Breccia and other regional prospects offer the potential to augment the open pit ore with high grade underground feed,” Mr Welborn said.

“In addition, opportunities for further cost reduction, such as owner operator mining, have yet to be assessed.”