Aim-listed Shanta Gold has started work to expand the processing capacity at the New Luika gold mine (NLGM) in south-west Tanzania.
The integration of a new 10 t/h pilot plant is under way, with commissioning scheduled for January 2021.
The pilot plant was bought in 2016 for the Singida project, but its installation at Singida was abandoned following a review of the project economics. It has been in storage in South Africa since it was acquired.
The cost to integrate the pilot plant at NLGM is estimated at $1.2-million and will be financed from cash flow.
The New Luika plant upgrade will focus on increased ball mill power, with upgrades to other components including an increase to pumping capacity, a tailings discharge system and additional leach capacity to support the higher throughput and increase operability.
When commissioned, the nameplate processing capacity at NLGM is expected to increase to a baseline of 708 000 t/y, from the current nameplate capacity of 620 000 t/y. The projected yearly processing rate is expected to increase to a baseline of 783 000 t/y from the current processing rate of 695 000 t/y.
Increased plant capacity will provide New Luika with the flexibility to reduce cut-off grades, thus lowering the hurdle for resources to be converted to minable ounces, says Shanta.
Detailed engineering design is complete and the company has started civil works on the mill floor and foundation. Plant capacity expansion is expected to be completed in January 2021, with milled throughput to increase immediately thereafter.
"Shanta has consistently expanded plant throughput over the last three years. Throughput in 2021 is expected to be 24% higher than in 2017,” says CEO Eric Zurrin.