Kimberley Metals has decided to adopt a dual track approach to re-development of the Mineral Hill mine in western New South Wales in order to minimize the time to initial production which is targeted for mid-2011.
The dual track approach will see simultaneous development of the Pearse open-pit gold/silver mine and the Parkers Hill underground copper mine. Ore from both mines will be processed at the existing Mineral hill process plant, for which refurbishment is well under way. The plant has two process trains allowing the treatment of both gold-dominant ores, through a carbon-in-leach circuit, and base metal ores, through a flotation circuit.
Jim Wall, Kimberley’s chairman said, “Our earlier plans had been based on a sequential development with Pearse gold/silver ore being treated first over a period of about 18 months, followed by treatment of the high grade parts of the Parkers Hill deposit. However, a reassessment of the Parkers Hill resource and subsequent development of a mining plan for that deposit demonstrates that Parkers Hill ore can be available for treatment prior to the Pearse ore.”
The mine plan for Pearse indicates a reserve of 52,300 oz of gold and 542,300 oz of silver to be mined over an 18-month period. Production from Parkers Hill is anticipated to be about 4,000 mt of copper-in-concentrate annually over a minimum five year mine life taking Mineral Hill production out until at least the end of 2017.
According to the company, there is significant potential for discovery of additional gold and base metals resources.