Aim-listed Caracal Gold is accelerating implementation of the final phase of its initial three-phase operational plan to further increase gold production and improve efficiencies at its flagship Kilimapesa gold mining and processing operations, in Kenya.
The third phase will be implemented over the next six months.
The decision to accelerate the third phase development activities at Kilimapesa and increase production to about 24 000 oz/y follows the successful completion of the first two phases of operational improvements and developments since listing in August 2021, and the board's decision to implement further operational improvements to the mining, processing and administrative aspects of its gold producing operations.
Run-of-mine (RoM) production from the existing openpit and underground mining operation is already at levels to support a 100% increase in the milling circuit capacity from 500 t/d to 1 000 t/d.
Further expansion to openpit and underground mining and development activities will support the increased long-term sustainable production levels.
The milling circuit expansion is set to be achieved through the installation of the second ball mill, which is currently in Nairobi for refurbishment; the addition of new crushing and screening plant; upgrades to the thickeners and cyclones; and installation of additional carbon-in-leach tanks.
The construction of a new heap leach plant operation will begin, which will initially be loaded with about 40 000 t of currently stockpiled low-grade material, and thereafter treat up to 10 000 t of ore a month from low-grade openpit and low-grade underground RoM feed.
There will be an upgrade, refurbishment and optimisation of the tailings retreatment plant from the current throughput levels of 500 t/d to up to 1 000 t/d, with a focus on increasing both gold recoveries and plant availability.
Decoupling of the milling and the tailings retreatment plants is set to allow independent operation and optimisation work.
Caracal will also procure and install a new gold elution plant to allow the increased levels of gold production to be smelted on site and the gold dore bars to be sold under the existing gold refining agreements.
As part of the third phase operational plan, further improvements in infrastructure and engineering services will be completed to support the considerable increased plant throughput and gold production levels.
These changes and improvements follow experience gained from the initial two phases of expansion and optimisation work completed, Caracal notes.
RoM throughput, gold recoveries and production are forecast to create a much improved balanced production circuit, aimed at improving not only absolute production and minimising waste, but also improving recovery levels and lowering costs.
Work on the detailed engineering design for the accelerated development plan has already begun, with the appointment of an experienced engineering company to implement the works programmes following final site inspections to be undertaken later this week with the company's newly appointed GM Riaan Lombard.