Belo Sun Mining has reported the results of a positive feasibility study of its Volta Grande open-pit gold project in Pará state, northern Brazil, with production estimated at 205,000 oz/y of gold over a 17-year mine life in sustaining costs of $779/oz. Initial capital costs to develop the project are estimated at $298 million. Proven and probable mineral reserves total 3.8 million oz of gold at a grade of 1.02 g/mt.

The Volta Grande feasibility study considers open-pit mining using an owner-operated equipment fleet of trucks, loaders, and drills. Mine design calls for an initial 10,000 mt/d of mill feed, expanding to 20,000 mt/d upon reaching full production in year three of operations.

The average life-of-mine strip ratio is estimated at 4.3:1. Open-pit bench heights will be 10 m. Best-practice grade control drilling will be done using reverse circulation drilling and rock sampling on mine benches prior to blasting. Ore will be hauled by 136-mt haul trucks.

The Volta Grande processing plant will be based on a conventional crush, grind, gravity concentration, leach, and carbon-in-pulp flow sheet. Testwork indicates that 40% to 50% of the gold will be recovered in a gravity concentrate. Overall gold recovery based on all ore types is estimated at 93%.

Belo Sun president and CEO Peter Tagliamonte commented, “Completion of the feasibility study marks an important milestone as Belo Sun moves towards its goal of becoming a significant low-cost gold producer. The project delivers positive results in all the areas we believe are important to investors: delivering a long-life project; robust economics at reduced and current gold prices; and fundable capital. Also, the geological setting of the property suggests a strong potential for the mine life to be extended beyond the 17 years presented in the feasibility study, making this a cornerstone mining project for Belo Sun.”