PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A seismic event in the region of the Cadia gold operation, in New South Wales, has seen gold miner Newcrest Mining suspend operations at the mine.
The seismic event occurred on Friday and an assessment of the damage caused is currently under way.
Newcrest said that a preliminary assessment had found that there was no major damage to the mine or associated infrastructure in the areas inspected.
The mining company said that it was working with the New South Wales Mining Inspectorate, which had approved access to the mine for the purpose of re-establishing critical services, conducting inspections and undertaking engineering assessments of the existing ground support and other key infrastructure.
Where damage to ground support has been observed, the rehabilitation of these areas has also been approved by the inspectorate, and work on this has started.
Power has also been re-established to some 90% of the mine, while the mine dewatering system has been restarted and the communication system is fully functional. The ventilation system is also working at capacity, Newcrest said.
“The safety of our people involved in the assessment of damage and remediation activity is paramount, as is the safety of our workforce generally, as we decide when and how mining operations should recommence,” Newcrest MD and CEO Sandeep Biswas said.
Prior to returning to mining, Newcrest will have to complete a number of works, including cleaning up the access drives and extraction level of Panel Cave 2, completing the assessment of damage to the extraction level of Panel Cave 1, testing all critical mine infrastructure, rehabilitating any necessary damaged ground-support, and finalising and having a restart management plan approved by the inspectorate.
It was unclear how long this programme of work would take, Newcrest said.
Surface operations were not adversely affected by the seismic event, and have continued uninterrupted. Since the seismic event, the plant has been processing Cadia East stockpile material, which is expected to be fully consumed during the course of the day. The plant would start processing low-grade stockpiles once the Cadia East stockpile material was consumed.
Newcrest has warned shareholders that the Cadia operation is unlikely to meet its production guidance for the 2017 financial year, however, it was too early to assess the full impact the seismic event will have on final production.