Bid to lengthen mine’s life
Thursday, 17th June, 2010
Drilling has begun at a known deposit near the White Dam gold mine in an attempt to extend its mine life.
Just days after the official opening of the gold mine, 80 kilometres west of Broken Hill, drill rigs moved in to test other deposits.
Polymetals' chief operating officer Tim Dobson said now the mine was making money it was time to look to the future.
"Now that we have cash flow we are able to aggressively test the near-mine other deposits that we're aware of," Mr Dobson said.
"(Last) week we start(ed) our first sampling campaign so we're going to do some ... trenching. Our drill rigs are coming from the White Dam pit and they'll move directly onto the exploration drilling at the end of that."
The five-week drilling program will target Vertigo, which Mr Dobson said was the deposit they knew most about.
"It's the most well defined of our near-mine targets so we're going for that first."
This would be followed by other deposits located within five kilometres of the White Dam pit, including White Dam North and Ambush.
Mr Dobson said while White Dam's mine life was two years, a 1.5 year mine life extension had already been flagged.
"Potentially (there is) a one-and-a-half-year extension and we have to prove that with drilling and that's what we're going to start to do right now."
Mr Dobson said he hoped that a good drilling result could mean no gap between the end of mining on the current pit and the beginning of mining on the new targets.
"That will allow us to turn them into the next deposit with the ambition of not having a gap in production so that our earth movers can go straight from one pit to the next pit," he said.
"That's no mean feat. We have approvals to get through with government and we also have to do the technical engineering around bringing those other pits into production.
"That will take a little bit of time to figure out and come up with what is a resource statement for that deposit, turn that into a pit design, a haul road, go to the government and get permission to mine it and make sure we can fit it into our processing facility at White Dam."
The Polymetals Group and Exco Resources are in a joint venture to mine White Dam, which is expected to produce around 50,000 ounce of gold annually.