PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A first pass prefeasibility study (PFS) into the Stage 1 development of the Laverton gold project, in Western Australia, has proved positive for owner Focus Minerals.
Focus on Thursday said the PFS is based on a selection of five openpit resources with a combined Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc-) compliant reserve of 12.5-million tonnes, grading 1.34 g/t gold for 546 000 oz of gold.
The PFS assumed milling would take place through a refurbished 1.5-million-tonne-a-year Barnicoat mill, with the project expected to recover some 513 000 oz of gold over a ten-year mine life.
Based on a gold price of A$2 207/oz, the PFS estimated that the project would have a pre-tax net present value of A$132-million and a pre-tax internal rate of return of 17.2%, with a pay-back period of 6.5 years.
“This initial PFS scenario has delivered a positive economic assessment from just 21% of the Laverton project’s mineral resource base and is a further credit to the Focus technical team’s diligent work,” said CEO Zhaoya Wang.
“Yet as positive as the PFS results are, they did not include the discovery late last year of additional high grade Beasley Creek mineralisation which remains open along strike with significant shallow ounce growth potential yet to be drill tested. In addition, this first phase study at Laverton has excluded large fresh rock resource especially at Karridale because Focus is yet to receive back all outstanding metallurgical test work.”
Wang said that there were also a number of deposits with grades greater than 2 g/t gold within the Laverton tenement package that would be updated to Jorc compliance before being included in the second phase PFS.
“The progressive PFS result is a huge step forward in optimising future production at Laverton. It has also demonstrated to Focus the need to look at increasing the mining and milling capacity to reduce operating costs and increase profitability. Opportunity exists to strategically position a future plant to improve efficiencies and further reduce handling costs,” said Wang.
The next phase of the PFS will examine the benefits of pursuing a larger mining and processing operation, and will look into the re-handling and haulage of mine tonnage as more fresh ore will be included in the mine plan. Focus will also look to assess the merits of an owner-operated fleet versus contract mining and other mine models.