Gold Fields goes underground at Invincible3 - The West Australian
Gold Fields St Ives expects to be mining underground at the Invincible deposit by early next year as it looks to maintain a 350,000-360,000 ounce a year operation into the foreseeable future.
The South African gold miner, which produces about 900,000ozpa at its Australian operations, blasted the Drake and Fenton portals — named after Vice Admiral Sir Francis Drake and Mary Rose Captain Edward Fenton, who masterminded the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 — on July 6.
Its life of mine at St Ives, near Kambalda, runs to 2020, including the phasing out of the Invincible open pit by 2019, and mining of the Invincible underground and Neptune open pit. A feasibility study on the high-grade Invincible South deposit, which will be accessed underground from Invincible, is due by early next year around the same time as production ore from Drake and Fenton reaches the Lefroy Mill.
Invincible South grades 6.68g/t, while the Invincible underground contains a grade of 4.8g/t, higher than the current open pit.
Gold Fields Australia executive vice-president Stuart Mathews said the company expected to keep the operations sustainable at 350,000oz-360,000oz for the foreseeable future through its $38 million annual exploration spend.
“At the moment, St Ives is a very sustainable operation for the foreseeable future at the 350,000-360,000ozpa run rate and we’ve been doing that for a couple of years now,” he said.
“It’s about the same (mine life), but exploration has been very successful in particular along the Invincible complex and the Speedway trend at the moment.
“We expect to have positive results at the end of the year.”
The Invincible deposit was rediscovered by Gold Fields in 2012 after a review of Western Mining Corporation drilling results from the mid-1990s and is now the linchpin of the St Ives tenement package.
It formed the basis of a maiden 600,000oz resource, which grew to 1.3Moz by the time mining began in December, 2014.
Exploration has since grown to 1.925Moz, including 815,000oz of reserves.
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