Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd. reported a record March quarter with group production of more than 158,000 ounces (oz) of gold at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of A$1,133/oz. This takes production for the nine months to March 31 to 374,584 oz at an AISC of A$1,081/oz.
Saracen operates three gold mines, Thunderbox, Carosue Dam and KCGM (50%), which sold 50 million oz, 49 million and 59 million oz respectively.
In what was the first full quarter of Saracen ownership of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM), the Super Pit produced 29,900 oz from ore grading 1.6 grams per metric ton (g/mt). A review of the open-pit operation has identified an opportunity to increase the number of mining areas. Mining in recent years has focused solely on the Golden Pike area. The Mt Charlotte underground mine produced 11,800 oz from ore grading 2.5 g/mt. Rehabilitation of the Sam Pearce decline was completed late in the quarter, ending a 4-km campaign that has constrained development and production.
At Carosue Dam, the Karari-Dervish underground mine produced 52,500 oz from ore grading 2.5g/mt. Paste filling of primary stopes was a key priority during the quarter. The Deep South underground mine produced 1,200 oz at 2.3g/mt. Stoping will commence during the June quarter. During the quarter, there was a scheduled shut-down at the processing plant to undertake a mill re-line and other critical maintenance activities. The company said the mill expansion project to increase throughput to 3.2 million mt/y continued to make good progress.
Thunderbox delivered another record quarter with 50,100 oz at an AISC of A$682/oz. During February, Thunderbox C Zone pit experienced a wall failure on the West Wall ramp that impeded access to mining ore. Saracen took the opportunity to ramp-up mining in the D Zone pit while the wall was remediated. Remediation activities are now complete with access to the bottom of the C Zone pit restored mid-April.
Development of the Thunderbox Underground continued to progress well with 1,071 meters of horizontal development completed. The tender for the ramp up of the underground mine was issued this quarter and the commencement of stoping activities remain on track for FY21.