AngloGold embarks on Tropicana gold expansion, extension plan
ANGLOGOLD Ashanti has approved the expansion and extension of gold production from its 70%-owned Tropicana gold mine, situated in western Australia.
The group said in an announcement today that a combination of certain mining techniques and investment in new plant would see Tropicana add 2.1 million ounces to its business plan and extend its mine life by about seven years to 2027. Gold production is forecast to be between 478,000 and 492,000 ounces on a 100% basis in the next year.
Gold output would then increase to between 530,000 and 548,000 oz in 2019 on a 100% basis. AngloGold is in joint venture on Tropicana with Independence Group, an Australian-listed company.
“This project is in line with our approach of developing cost effective brownfield projects with attractive payback periods that extend life and improve margins,” said Michael Erickson, senior vice president Australia at AngloGold. The further extension of gold production from Tropicana through existing resources and regional exploration would also be developed through the expanded footprint, he said.
AngloGold said total gold produced over Tropicana’s remaining life would be four million oz, excluding potential underground production at the so-called Boston Shake orebody. A scoping study ahead of a prefeasibility study on opening up this underground potential would be undertaken in 2018.
Referred to as the Long Island mining strategy, AngloGold and Independence Group employs strip mining in which waste is backfilled in the existing pit. This cuts down trucking times and costs. There will be an increase in the mining rate so the partners have decided to install a 6MW ball mill in the processing plant. This will enable throughput to be matched to the higher mining rate and improved gold recovery up up to 3% to about 92%.