KBL Mining has produced, smelted and sold the first 497 ounces of gold dore from its Mineral Hill mine in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia.
The gold pour marks a significant milestone as over the last eight months KBL has moved from being an underground operation to a 100% surface gold and silver producer. During this time the existing flotation plant capacity was doubled and began producing a gold concentrate while a new CIL circuit was installed.
The process plant now has the flexibility to float gold concentrates, leach gold ores, and float copper, lead and zinc concentrates, all through separate circuits providing the ability to treat ores separately from the polymetallic gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc lodes contained within the 10-year resource base.
Significant underground development has recently been completed to access future underground lodes within the Southern Ore Zone.
While the gold pour was a milestone, KBL sees that there is significant opportunity for improved results as the quantity of the pour was less than anticipated. As a result, it is thoroughly reviewing its ongoing practices.
The current focus if the high grade Pearse open cut operation with the movement of more than 800,000 BCM of overburden exposing the full strike of the Pearse lode. With the majority of waste removed KBL can reduce the equipment size to excavate and transport ore to the process plant 850 metres from the pit. This has placed the company in a unique position for the first time with stockpiled oxide and sulphide ore ahead of the process plant.
There has been 86,586 tonnes of ore extracted from the Pearse deposit and processed through the Mineral Hill process plant at an annual rate of 400,000 tonnes compared to the long-term average annual throughput rate of 300,000 tonnes.
The initial three months of mining was prior to the CIL plant operating and required the oxide ore to be stockpiled and the free milling component of the tails stored for processing when the CIL was commissioned.
Sulphide ore was processed through the two mills to produce a gold concentrate for export to China. KBL has to date produced and exported 3617 tonnes of concentrate containing approximately two ounces of gold and 10 ounces of silver per tonne.
The company’s geological team are continuing to evaluate several other targets on the Mineral Hill property, located near the flotation and CIL processing facilities, which have the potential to add further resources. The property is highly under-explored in terms of modern exploration as evidenced by the recent discoveries of Red Terror, Pearse and Pearse North.