News (June 01, 2002)
Expansion Project at Placer Dome’s South Deep Mine
In a late-May update, Placer Dome Inc. of Vancouver announced changes to its expansion project at the South Deep gold mine in South Africa. The company now expects gold production will gradually ramp up from 400,000 ounces in 2002 to 700,000 ounces per year by 2007, averaging 600,000 ounces each year over this five-year period. Beyond 2007, gold production is expected to exceed 750,000 ounces per year, 50,000 ounces per year higher than past estimates. Cash and total costs will be unchanged in 2002 at approximately $170 and $208 per ounce, respectively. After full production is achieved, cash and total costs are expected to average about $135 and $175 per ounce, respectively–below previous guidance of $160 and $180 per ounce, respectively.
The new mill is currently being commissioned and the first gold pour is expected in mid-June. The main shaft has now been completed. Commissioning is planned for late 2003, with full operation by 2004. The vent shaft is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Partnership Agreement for Thermal Fragmentation at O’Brien
Radisson Mining Resources Inc. of Rouyn-Noranda, Que., has signed an agreement with Rocmec International Inc. to develop and apply a new extraction technique–thermal fragmentation–to gold-bearing veins in Radisson’s O’Brien property. The intention is to convert resources into reserves and to collect information for a bankable feasibility study into underground production using thermal fragmentation mining.
The O’Brien mine in Cadillac, Que., in the Bousquet-Doyon-La Ronde gold camp, is a former gold producer (1926-56), processing 1.2 million tonnes of ore; its smoky quartz veins had an average grade of at least 16 g/t Au. Zone 36 East on the O’Brien property contains an indicated resource of 654,100 tonnes grading 6.90 g/t Au between surface and a vertical depth of 350 m.
During the first step, the partners will develop the mining method, test and improve the extraction equipment, and take steps to control dilution, to establish productivity, and to confirm the grades and continuity of the veins. Rocmec will provide the equipment and personnel to drill the pilot holes for thermal reaming as well as for pumping the broken material. Radisson will refurbish the 180-tonne/day concentrator on the property to process batches of several hundred tonnes.