JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – London-listed Highland Gold Mining has published the results of a prefeasibility study (PFS) for its youngest mine, Belaya Gora, and the nearby greenfield Blagodatnoye deposit, in the Khabarovsk region of Russia’s Far East.
The PFS, which was prepared by SRK Consulting, puts forward new mining plans for Belaya Gora and Blagodatnoye, both of which are openpit operations. The strategy is to mine the remaining reserves at Belaya Gora, where operations were slowed last year, until 2024 and then to move the mining activity to Blagodatnoye for another eight years.
The plan envisions the processing of Blagodatnoye ore at the Belaya Gora mill, which will require an upgrade at a cost of $15-million, including the addition of a carbon-in-pulp circuit to improve recoveries from 72% to a range of 86% to 91% for Belaya Gora and 90% for Blagodatnoye ore.
When mining activity moves to Blagodatnoye, a further $21-million expenditure will be required for the purchasing of a crushing circuit, road construction and upgrades and equipment replacement.
Belaya Gora will produce 55 000 oz/y over the life-of-mine (LoM) to 2032, with total LoM production estimated at 820 000 oz at an average cash cost of $802/oz and all-in sustaining costs of $848/oz.
The PFS estimates a net present value of $97-million and an internal rate of return of 142% for the combined project, excluding historical costs and based on a gold price of $1 250/oz.
As part of the PFS, an updated Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate has been published. The Belaya Gora mine has a total ore reserve of 12.25-million tonnes at 1.53 g/t gold for 601 000 oz of contained gold.
The Blagodatnoye deposit has a total mineral reserve of 19.3-million tonnes at 1.25 g/t gold for 777 000 oz of contained gold.
The total Belaya Gora and Blagodatnoye ore reserve is estimated at 20.1-million tonnes at 1.44 g/t gold for 932 000 oz of gold.