A NEW custom-built processing plant and new underground mining equipment are expected to increase gold production at Crater Gold Mining’s High Grade Zone (HGZ) mine. The plant is being installed after arriving in Papua New Guinea from China and then being airlifted by a Mil8 heavy lift helicopter from Goroka 50km to the mine site.

The upgraded mining plant comprises two new hammer mills, two high speed centrifugal concentrators and gravity separation shaking tables. The new concentrators and shaking tables will provide better recovery efficiencies when compared to the existing testing plant. The bulk sampling circuit, comprising a crusher, hammer mill and small centrifugal gravity concentrator, has effectively served its purpose during the initial evaluation phase.

The Crater Mountain Gold Project of Crater Gold is in Eastern Highlands Province and includes the HGZ underground mine.
The Crater Mountain Gold Project of Crater Gold is in Eastern Highlands Province and includes the HGZ underground mine.

In addition a new compressor and rail mounted rocker-shovel will improve underground production capacity. The compressor effectively allows a potential doubling of mining rates going forward.

Crater Gold recently completed a capital raising of A$800,000 to finish installation of the new plant and equipment. The funds were raised through a placement to new institutional and wholesale investors.

When the company reaches mining plant capacity, it anticipates producing 10,000 ounces of gold in the first full year of production at an all-in cash cost of below $400 per ounce average.

Meantime, a second HGZ adit level is being planned to open up an additional 30 metre vertical extent of known shoots. A refreshed geological interpretation has resulted in an improved understanding of the controls to mineralisation enabling future mining to be better focused.

Crater Gold’s managing director Russ Parker said, “We are excited by the upcoming phase for the company, during which we anticipate an acceleration of our process of transition from a pure developer to an active profitable gold producer. Our recent discovery at the South Artisan Workings (SAW) Zone represents the potential for additional mineralisation in close proximity to the upgraded plant and a potentially longer mine life operation.”

Ongoing drilling has identified elevated gold grades in the HGZ central zone and confirmed that this zone continues to depth. Development in 2015 covered an approximate extent of 60 metres NS and 30 metres EW identifying those structures considered to be controlling the gold mineralisation and confirming the results of diamond drilling carried out in 2014. An important development was identification of a strong link structure trending roughly NE-SW linking the prominent NS structures thought to have controlled mineralisation.