TORONTO, June 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd (TSX: WDO) announces that it is currently fast tracking a multi-pronged milling facility upgrade, which includes: streamlining drystack tailings handling, increasing throughput and efficiency via filtration conversion to CIL process, and permitting of a new longterm tailings management solution.
The mill upgrade is being done in consultation with global milling experts Kappes, Cassiday & Associates of Reno, NV.
Donovan Pollitt, President and CEO, comments "The Mishi open pit has been a great success from a mining standpoint with recovered grades at or above resource grade for the past five quarters. However, we have been constrained by our milling operations and have generated a substantial stockpile of Mishi ore. We are currently upgrading our milling facilities targeting a 66% increase over current rates to 1000 tonnes per day. This will optimize Eagle/Mishi feed rates and ultimately permit substantially higher production"
Combined Eagle River and Mishi ore stockpiles at the mill currently sit at approximately 100,000 tonnes. The Mishi stockpile has about 85,000 tonnes of ore at estimated grades of about 2.5 gAu/tonne and the Eagle River has about 15,000 tonnes of ore at about 7.0 gAu/tonne. Additional Mishi broken ore in-pit is currently about 15,000 tonnes.
To date, in 2013, Mishi has produced 2,100 ounces of gold from 20,000 tonnes milled at a recovered grade of 3.2 gAu/tonne. We are announcing the temporary suspension of the Mishi open pit contract mining activities in light of the considerable stockpile currently at the mill. The postponing of contractor mining activities will reduce operating costs by approximately $3.5 million until year-end and that contract mining activities would recommence in the spring of 2014. The suspension of mining activities does not impact our planned gold production, and as milling rates increase we have the flexibility to re-commence mining activities sooner.
We see considerable potential for expansion given Mishi's increasing reserves as well as positive deep drilling results and better grades at Eagle River.
We are confident in our ability to optimize these assets over the longterm through an affordable and phased incremental capital investment program. We are maintaining our production guidance of 55,000 ounces for 2013.
Wesdome is in its 26th year of continuous mining operations in Canada. It currently has two producing gold mines in Wawa, Ontario and owns the Kiena Complex in Val d'Or, Québec. The Company has 101.8 million shares issued and outstanding and trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WDO".