Aim-listed GoldStone Resources, in April, started mining and ore stacking at the Homase mine within its Akrokeri-Homase gold project (AKHM) in Ghana, with the first mined ore having been successfully stacked onto the heap leach pad.
This follows the pre-stripping and clearing of the Homase mine site, which the company says is continuing to perform well.
The daily mining rate and the growth in the primary and secondary run-of-mine stockpiles are performing at or above the targeted levels.
CEO Emma Priestley says the stacking of ore onto the heap leach pad is a pivotal step in the evolution of the company as it starts production at the mine.
“Commencement of operations will lead to an ongoing revenue stream and will also establish a base for unlocking value in our AKHM project. I would like to thank the staff in Ghana for the successful startup of the Homase mine.”
The first eight months of production from the Homase mine are forecast to deliver about 25 000 oz of gold, at a total cash cost, pre-tax, of under $600/oz, based on the lower quartile of industry cost standards.
In addition, the planned gold production for the first eight months from the start of mining now exceeds GoldStone’s original guidance of 14 400 oz/y, as stated in the definitive economic plan (DEP) announced in June 2019.
Accordingly, the company expects to increase the planned production rate to about 50 000 oz/y, which would represent an increase of more than 300% from the original production schedule.
Going forward, GoldStone is reviewing its options for extracting saleable gold from the loaded carbon it is producing, including toll treatment or expanding its own processing facility to include an elution plant and gold room.
GoldStone expects to make a decision on these options shortly, depending on the terms offered by existing third-party processing facilities and any financing options that may be available.
The company notes, however, that additional funding may be required in the coming months, depending on the timing and cost associated with such arrangements.
Following the increase in mineable resource and the enhancement review, the company is in the process of updating the DEP, with the aim of updating the market in the third quarter of this year.
HEAP LEACH PAD
GoldStone reports that all of the mechanical and electrical components associated with the dry plant for the agglomerated ore transport and stacking have been assembled, including the screening plant, grasshopper conveyors and an extendable stacker, which has been positioned.
The first two cells (combined area of 13 000 m2) of the heap leach pad, which will comprise a total of seven cells (about 73 000 m2), have been commissioned, enabling stacking at an initial rate of 100 t/h, which is ramping up to a target of 200 t/h or about 2 500 t/d.
Cyanide has been delivered and other reagents are on site, with piping expected to be completed within the next two weeks, followed by irrigation.
Priestley says a further benefit from the start of production at Homase is that the exploration team will be able to proceed with drilling the Homase mineralised trend that lies below and along strike of the current 602 000 oz Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource, with a view to extending the mine’s original five-year life.
“The exploration team has previously limited its work on this initiative, as the production startup at Homase has been the company’s priority.”