Mine expansion creates hundreds of jobs
A MILLION ounces of gold has been added to the reserves of the Ravenswood Expansion Project near Townsville, putting the operation among the top 10 in Australia, its owners say.
Resolute Mining announced the results of drilling and test work yesterday as it considers almost doubling production to 200,000 ounces of gold a year under the expansion.
It has meant an operation threatened with closure just three years ago is emerging as a large-scale, low-cost mine, securing 380 jobs and yielding more than $5 billion worth of gold.
Resolute managing director John Welborn said the reserve upgrade now put Ravenswood among the top 10 stand-alone resources in the country, delivering major economic benefits to the Ravenswood community, the State Government and to shareholders.
"One million additional ounces of gold in ore reserves at Ravenswood is an excellent outcome from our recent drilling programs and study work," Mr Welborn said.
"Available gold resources at Ravenswood now exceed five million ounces demonstrating its status as an outstanding Australian gold mine.
"With almost three million ounces of gold in ore reserves we are now directing our ongoing study work to focus on an optimised Ravenswood Expansion Project that can produce (around) 200,000 ounces annually over a 15-year mine life."
The company previously planned production of 115,000 ounces a year over 14 years.
Resolute proposes to spend about $150 million redeveloping mining pits close to the historic gold mining town, to secure about 380 jobs - 280 in production and 100 in construction.
Under the upgrade the project's ore reserves have been boosted 58 per cent to 2.7 million ounces, while mineral resources are up 24 per cent to a potential 5.9 million ounces.
Ravenswood, about 150km southwest of Townsville where gold was found in the 1860s, has yielded some three million ounces of gold.
Mr Welborn said work on their process technique had delivered a unique advantage at Ravenswood where they could boost gold content per tonne through beneficiation crushing and screening.
It meant barren rock could be rejected with little loss of contained gold.
"That characteristic is a game changer for Ravenswood," Mr Welborn said.
He said the company would finish project review this quarter and make a decision on proceeding with the expansion project later this year.