An on-site cement plant will push out the life of the Fosterville Gold Mine, its operators say, benefiting the local economy.
It comes after Kirkland Lake Gold's announcement last month that it was increasing the amount of gold estimated to sit under the site.
Last month, the mine revised estimates of how much gold was under the site to approximately $5 billion Australian, KLG vice president of Australian operations Ian Holland said, with the company wanting to extract more gold, more efficiently.
The $40 million cement plant will be used to fill underground voids left over by the mining process.
Rock that once filled the voids would be mixed with concrete and pumped back down underground.
"This allows us to tightly fill those voids. It's important because it allows us to mine adjacent to it (the voids) and extract more of the ore body," Mr Holland said.
"Imagine filling a void with pebbles, versus filling a void with toothpaste. If you can fill the it with toothpaste, and have that set, you can mine adjacent to that."
KLG expected the plant to be operational in the second half of 2019.
The amount of gold the mine is expected to produce this year would be nearly double that of 2018, with the company expecting to maintain those rates for at least four years.
But more importantly, Mr Holland said, KLG was gearing up for "an unprecedented" spend on exploration, which was good for the local economy as well as the company's shareholders.
"We are spending something in the order of $50 million on exploration this year, which for an operation of this scale is a very significant number," he said.
"And we are committed to continuing to extend that for many years to come."
FOSTERVILLE Gold Mine is set to expand, with authorities green-lighting an on-site cement plant that will increase production.
The site is expected to add 30 new full-time jobs, plus the 60 needed to build it.
Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes has this morning confirmed regulatory and planning approval for the project.
Fosterville Gold Mine, which already employs 600 staff has had some of the highest gold grades reported globally in recent years.
Estimated gold reserves were recently upgraded by 60 per cent to 2.7 million ounces.
Production in 2019 may top 600,000 ounces, the company believes, up from 350,000 ounces last year, likely placing Fosterville in the top five of the nation’s biggest gold producers.
The new cement infrastructure plant will also enable by-product rock to be re-inserted underground, reducing tailings and extending the life of the mine.
More to come.
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