"Significant" gold found in surface stockpiles at Beaconsfield has mine owner NQ Minerals eager to start producing much sooner than expected.
"These high-grade surface stockpiles are only a short trucking distance from the plant and will provide valuable low-cost, high-revenue plant feed much sooner than we originally envisaged," NQ chairman David Lenigas said.
"The removal of these stockpiles from the Wetlands area will also be the start of a process of rectifying a long-standing environmental issue in the town by cleaning up old mine waste placed in this area over the last 120-odd years and returning the area back to its natural, pre-mining state.
"The revelation that significant gold exists in these stockpiles is a tremendous boost for the company's Beaconsfield Gold Mine reopening plans.
"Our engineers are now working on budgets and timelines to bring the plant's CiL (carbon-in-leach) circuit back on line as soon as possible to treat this material."
In other news:
London-listed NQ plans to bring the historic mine back into production after buying it earlier this year.
"Whilst work is under way for the refurbishment of Beaconsfield's 350,000 tonne per year capacity gold processing plant, the NQ geology team has embarked on an exploration program of the multiple surface stockpile sites located within the wider Beaconsfield mining lease to identify initial ore feed for the plant for when the plant becomes operational around the end of the year," NQ told the market on Tuesday.
"A new and exciting development for NQ has been the discovery that excellent gold grades exist in approximately 80,000 tonnes of surveyed stockpiles in the area called the historic Wetlands area that are due east of the Beaconsfield town site."
The company said 105 samples taken from the stockpiles so far had averaged 3.2 grams of gold per tonne.
The entire stockpile site would be sampled to find the full extent of contained gold.
"There is potential to expand this area of interest considerably over the coming months ...," the company said.
NQ said it planned to reopen the mine as soon as practicably possible.
It said there was significant gold potential still to be assessed in the upper section of the old mine workings and parallel unexplored reefs, while the ore body remained open at depth.
The Beaconsfield mine is best known for the dramatic rescue of miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell in 2006.
They were trapped underground for a fortnight after a rock fall.
Their colleague, Larry Knight, was killed.
NQ reprocesses tailings from the old Hellyer Gold Mine, west of Cradle Mountain.
It has other potential mining sites in the Hellyer and Beaconsfield areas.
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