JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – An underground development at gold miner OceanaGold’s Haile gold mine, in South Carolina, could boost the operation’s production by up to 100 000 oz between 2019 and 2025, a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) has shown.
The underground mine will cost $53.1-million to build, it will require life-of-mine (LoM) capital expenditure of $44.5-million and will be repaid in a three-year period.
The Haile Creek underground mine is expected to produce between 80 000 oz/y and 100 000 oz/y and will complement the 150 000 oz/y of gold production from the openpit, which is set to operate between 2017 and 2030.
OceanaGold estimates a LoM all-in sustaining cost of $554/oz for Haile, with openpit and incremental production from an underground mine.
Announcing the results of the PEA on Tuesday, president and CEO Mick Wilkes said OceanaGold would incorporate the results of the underground study and new drilling data in an optimisation study, which would determine the mine design for the openpit and underground operations.
The optimisation study will be completed by the middle of 2017 at which stage the TSX- and ASX-listed company will produce a comprehensive technical update on the Haile gold mine.
The PEA is modelled on mineralisation located beneath the openpit reserves, almost all of which is included within the openpit resources reported in the Haile National Instrument 43-101 technical report, dated October 2015.
OceanaGold acquired the Haile project at the end of 2015 through the acquisition of Canadian project developer Romarco.