Emerald Resources has signed a mining contract with MACA Ltd. for supply of earthmoving equipment and performance of contract mining services at Emerald’s Okvau open-pit gold project in Mondulkiri province, eastern Cambodia. The contract is valued at $230 million over seven years. Mobilization activities are planned to begin in August ahead of preproduction mining in October.

Scope of works for the contract includes site preparation, drill and blast, load and haul, and maintenance works. First gold production is planned for the second quarter of 2021.

Emerald Resources is an Australian company headquartered in Perth, Western Australia. The company recently completed a definitive feasibility study (DFS) of development of a 2-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) mining operation at Okvau, with gold production planned at 106,000 ounces per year (oz/y). Preproduction capital costs to develop the project are estimated at $98 million. C1 cash costs of production are estimated at $650/oz.

The DFS only considered an open-pit mining operation. The Okvau deposit remains open at depth, with high-grade shoots providing longer-term underground potential. High-grade resources have been defined immediately below the floor of the final pit design.

The DFS is based on an ore reserve of 14.3 million mt at a grade of 1.98 g/mt gold. Processing recovery is estimated at 84%. The life-of-mine strip ratio is 5.8:1, waste to ore.

Substantial opportunities exist for new gold discoveries across the broader Okvau and adjoining O’Chhung project areas covering approximately 400 km2. Further drilling around the Okvau deposit and exploration targets within close proximity to the deposit offers an opportunity to expand the existing resource inventory and add to the current production target, both in terms of annual production and mine life.

Emerald Resources Managing Director Morgan Hart said, “We are extremely pleased to have appointed MACA as the mining contractor for the Okvau gold project operations, which continues the existing relationship between the Emerald and MACA management teams. The signing of the mining contract follows a thorough and collaborative process with both teams in finalizing the mining schedule for the development and operation of the project. The signing of the contract gives us greater confidence to achieve our goal of becoming the first modern, large-scale Cambodian gold producer by Q2 2021.”