Crocodile Gold reported on March 1, that it has reached commercial production at its underground Cosmo mine in Australia’s Northern Territory. During the previous six months, the mine maintained a development rate well in excess of its long-term requirements while increasing total ore production rates from less than 1,000 mt/d prior to September 2012 to more than 1,650 mt/d in February 2013. At full production, anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2013, Cosmo is expected to produce between 700,000 and 750,000 mt/y of ore (2,000 to 2,150 mt/d), with associated gold production of 75,000 to 90,000 oz/y.

Ore grade to the mill was running at about 3.5 g/mt gold. Gold recoveries have ranged from 91% to 94%.

During the three months prior to March, the development rate in the Cosmo mine averaged 535 m/month, more than 100% of the requirements for the next few years. In February, the mine’s main surface ventilation system was commissioned and will be available to meet all airflow requirements when the mine reaches full production later in the year.

Peter Crooks, Crocodile Gold’s general manager-Northern Territory operations, said, “Although some work remains to be done on major infrastructure such as expanding the underground electrical reticulation system, the ventilation airways network, and the expansion of the underground pumping system, the key components are in place to bring the Cosmo mine to a steady state operation. A significant amount of effort has been made to better understand all of the deposit’s geology, and this will greatly assist in maintaining steady production. Four underground diamond drill rigs have been operating since last November in order to expand the resource and reserve base and allow the company to better plan its future operations.”

Crocodile Gold is a Canadian company with three operating mines in the Northern Territory and the state of Victoria in Australia. In both the Northern Territory and Victoria, the company has exploration programs in place designed to expand the resource base of each mine property. The company has a combined land package of more than 4,000 km2.