Crater Gold Mining has made its first gold sale since the installation and commissioning of a custom-made gold processing plant at the High Grade Zone (HGZ) Project at Crater Mountain in Papua New Guinea. The company has received $351,000 from the sale.

The processed material was largely sourced from stockpiled material derived from initial development work at HGZ. Gold recovered was from a combination of country rock and initial development along structural veins to delineate mineralised zones of higher gold tenor.

Production is expected to ramp up rapidly over the next few months as new material is sourced from the higher grade material of the central high grade gold block of the mine.

With the improved understanding of the geology and controls to mineralisation, processing material is now sourced entirely from the higher grade mineralised veins resulting in improved grades and recovery of gold.

The new plant with high speed primary centrifugal concentrators as well as secondary shaking tables is more efficient than the previous test plant and it is expected that this will yield a satisfactory grade of gold.

Development above the 1960RL level has been opened up with two sub-levels and a third under way, preparing blocks for regular production mining. This will increase both the rate of mining and grade of material being mined. A second adit level at 1930RL is planned to commence to open up a 30 metre depth extension of the central high grade zone.

The remaining stockpile as well as tailings arising from the test plant operation will be processed through the updated plant in due course.

While the current focus is on the HGZ mine, there remains potential to increase the JORC compliant resource of 24 million tonnes at 1.0 grams/tonne gold for 790,000 ounces at the nearby Mixing Zone project at Crater Mountain.

The Crater Mountain project is 50km southwest of Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province of PNG. There has been in excess of 14,500 metres of diamond drilling to date with the majority focused on the Nevera prospect, which hosts the HGZ mine and Mixing Zone project.

Crater Gold’s PNG general manager Richard Johnson said, “Our objective of becoming a profitable, low cost, high margin gold producer is nearing fruition, with the upgraded processing plant up and running.

“We are excited to have generated our cashflow following the plant upgrade and, importantly, to observe that the new plant is working to expectations. A third hammer mill is being installed which will allow continuous operation of two mills, substantially increasing throughput going forward.”

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