Monday, 12th January, 2015
By Andrew Robertson
As mining operations go the nearby Portia gold deposit might be on the small side, but its importance to Havilah Resources is huge.
Havilah will use revenue from Portia, its first ever mine, to help fund development of a much larger, copper-gold deposit at nearby Kalkaroo.
The company announced last week it had entered into a profit sharing arrangement with local contractor Consolidated Mining and Civil (CMC) to mine Portia, about 110km northwest of the city.
Havilah, which will process gold ore CMC brings to the surface, expects to reap about $40 million from the venture, which will see about 50,000 ounces of gold extracted in an open pit operation from next year.
The explorer holds a number of other tenements across the border but managing director Chris Giles told the BDT that Havilah had a clear focus.
“Our priority list is Portia and then we’re working all this year to get the permits for Kalkaroo so that in 2016 we can kick off at Kalkaroo as Portia is winding down.”
In October Dr Giles said Havilah was planning an open pit operation at Kalkaroo capable of treating nine million tonnes of ore per annum for at least 14 years and employing up to 200 people.
Dr Giles has ruled out using a profit sharing arrangement to bring Kalkaroo into production, saying it was a “different proposition” to Portia.
“Portia lends itself to it because it’s gold, it’s easy to sell, it’s easy to process and you can sort of split it down the middle,” he said.
“And it’s a small mine with a finite life.
“I think Kalkaroo will be a more conventional contract mining type situation.
“But obviously if we develop a good relationship with CMC, which we’re hoping to, then they would certainly be the people we’d be looking to help us with Kalkaroo.”
However the company has a clutch of smaller projects in the area that might be suitable for a profit sharing type arrangement including the copper-cobalt Mutooroo deposit.
“That’s a small mine that could lend itself to a profit sharing type arrangement,” he said.
“We also have the Maldorky (iron ore) deposit. If the iron ore price gets back to reasonable levels ... we’d certainly be going ahead with that.
“There’s quite a lot of other possibilities. We’ve got numerous prospects around the place that we just haven’t had the opportunity, the funds or the time to drill out.
“Anyone of those could turn into a decent sort of deposit; it’s just a matter of having the funds to do it.
“That’s why Portia’s pretty important because that should give us the funds to go out and drill some of these other projects.”