TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Gold development company Romarco Minerals recently reached an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the lead agency responsible for the project's environmental-impact statement (EIS) for its Haile gold mine, in South Carolina, to undertake further hydrology testing to supplement existing data previously submitted in the permit application.
Regular meetings between the Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, as well as consulting parties reviewing the submitted hydrology model, had resulted in the Corps requesting the company to perform additional hydrologic testing.
The work required comprised twin three vibrating wire piezometer holes, for a total of six new holes, as well as completing an aquifer test and pump for about one week with a new production well and seven monitoring wells. The new aquifer test would provide additional data for an area where bedrock characteristics were expected to be different from previous testing.
Piezometers are often placed in boreholes to monitor the pressure or depth of groundwater.
The company on February 20 said it had already received the authorisations to drill and had begun to twin the vibrating wire piezometer holes and to drill the aquifer well. The data collection and associated modelling is expected to be complete in the second quarter.
Romarco said the Corps had also indicated work was continuing on the writing of the EIS chapters. The Corps late in October said the scheduled date of December 14 for publishing the draft EIS would not be met. The main reasons given for the delay were the need to edit previously drafted chapters to reflect Romarco’s changed mine layout and the need to accurately characterise the potential effect mining would have on the property’s surface water and groundwater.
The company said it had modified its mine layout to reduce direct impacts on wetlands by 25% and impacts on streams by 32%. Detailed project engineering was about 76% complete at December 31.
Meanwhile, the company took delivery of the semi-autogenous grinding mill and ball mill shells in late December and its arrived at Haile in January. The company expected to pay about $3-million for it in the first quarter.
The company had also again extended its agreement with Blanchard Machinery Company to extend the delivery schedule for its Caterpillar mobile mine equipment and final payment of about $29-million from September 30, by six months, with an option to extend a further six months.
The Haile project has a National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource estimate for 71.2-million tons grading 1.77 g/t, containing about four-million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories, and an additional 20.1-million tons grading 1.24 g/t containing about 800 000 oz of gold in the inferred category.
At the end of December, the company had about $64.8-million cash in the bank and said cash conservation actions implemented during last year included reducing the number of exploration drill rigs from 11 to 5 rigs during the first quarter and a further reduction to three rigs by the start of the third quarter.
Romarco’s Toronto-listed stock traded 10.39% higher on Monday at 85 Canadian cents apiece.