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Bellevue gold project, Australia – update

Image of workers in a tunnel at the Bellevue mine

Photo by Bellevue Gold

10th May 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Bellevue gold project.

Location
Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Bellevue Gold.

Project Description
The Stage 2 feasibility study has shown that the project will rank among the world’s leading gold projects, based on the key criteria of grade, production, location and free cash-flow generation.

The indicated resource has increased from one-million ounces in the Stage 1 feasibility study to 1.4-million ounces in the Stage 2 feasibility study.

Reserves have increased from 690 000 oz to 1.04-million ounces.

This expanded inventory has enabled Bellevue to increase the planned throughput rate from 750 000 t/y to one-million tonnes a year, resulting in forecast production over the life-of-mine (LoM) increasing from 151 000 oz/y in the Stage 1 feasibility study to 183 000 oz/y in the Stage 2 feasibility study.

The Stage 2 feasibility study forecasts an LoM of 8.1 years, compared with an LoM of 7.4 years in the Stage 1 feasibility study.

The mine is expected to produce an average of more than 200 000 oz/y in the first five years of production.

The project will use conventional mechanised underground mining methods.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Th project has a pretax net present value, at a 5% discount rate, of $1.31-billion and an internal rate of return of 72% at A$2 400/oz, with a payback of 1.4 years.

Capital Expenditure
Total capital costs for the project have declined slightly, from A$269-million in the Stage 1 feasibility study to A$267-million in the Stage 2 feasibility study.

Planned Start/End Date
Commercial production was declared in May 2024.

Latest Developments
Studies are under way on maximising the potential of the project by expanding the plant beyond its current nameplate operating rate of one-million tonnes a year. 

The plant was designed to enable throughput capacity to be increased from 1-million tonnes a year to 1.2-million tonnes a year with no material capital expenditure required. To confirm this, the plant was operated at an annualised throughput rate of 1.2-million tonnes for a week during February 2024, with no material issues reported, providing confidence that this rate can be achieved on a consistent basis, the company states in a May 4 statement. 

To this end, Bellevue has started a scoping level study on a plant expansion to 1.5-million tonnes a year. This study will investigate capital requirements for the expansion and include nonprocessing infrastructure. The study is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025. 

Optimisation and design studies are focused on maximising the value of the Bellevue project through the delivery of low capital intensive, organic production growth. 

Meanwhile, as part of a strategy to achieve an aspirational goal of being a net-zero gold producer by 2026, Bellevue has started the changeover to a thermal and renewable power solution, switching from the diesel power plant used during the commissioning period.

The thermal liquefied natural gas components of the power plant have been fully completed and commissioned, and are providing baseload power. Installation of an initial 10 MW solar array has been completed with the first 7 MW being commissioned.  

Earthworks on the 24 MW wind power turbines have started, with completion and commissioning expected in the first quarter of 2025.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Entech (mine design and scheduling, mine ventilation, power, pumping and underground infrastructure design, mining cost estimation and cash flow modelling); Increva (nonprocessing infrastructure and project implementation planning); GR Engineering Services (process plant and associated infrastructure design, processing capital and operating cost estimation); MineGeoTech (geotechnical engineering); ALS and Extreme Metallurgy (metallurgical testwork); Resource Engineering Consultants (tailings deposition and storage); Gekko (gravity circuit testwork and assessment); Blueprint Environmental Strategies (regulatory and permitting assessment); WAPGC (power supply and strategy analysis); MBS Environmental (materials geochemical characterisation); RPS (hydrology, hydrogeology, and water balance); KPMG (assistance with taxation); Fremantle Metallurgy (thickener and rheology testwork); DynamicIT (communications and IT); International Resource Solutions (mineral resource estimation); and Develop (services contract for the construction, development and production activities at the underground mine).

Contact Details for Project Information
Bellevue Gold, tel +61 8 6373 9000 or email investors@bellevuegold.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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