Great Basin Gold is nearing completion of commissioning of its Burnstone underground gold mine and processing plant in Mpumalanga province, South Africa, 80 km southeast of Johannesburg, and expects the project to be fully operational by year-end 2010. The Burnstone project is designed to produce an average of 254,000 oz/y of gold at cash costs of $392/oz over a 19-year mine life.
The Burnstone project has proven and probable gold reserves of 4.1 million oz and resources of 12.1 million oz. Capital expenditure to develop the project is expected to come in at $293 million.
As of mid-October the SAG and ball mills in the Burnstone plant had been successfully commissioned. Development muck was initially run through the system during the test period to fill lockup areas. Conveyors were run at low speed to assess if there were any problem areas. All mills and conveyors performed well. A loading bin was added to the SAG mill conveyor, adding flexibility to mill operation by allowing material to be fed directly to the mills.
The first gold pour was expected before the end of October 2010.
As of the end of September, a total of approximately 4,200 m of on-reef development had been completed, and good progress was continuing to be made with long hole stope trials. More than 170,000 mt of ore had been accumulated on the surface ore stockpiles for use during plant commissioning.
Great Basin Gold is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.