AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Independence Group NL are forecasting an improved production outlook for their Tropicana gold mine in Western Australia as well as more than a 75% increase in the net present value of the mine.
Higher mining and processing rates along with increased reserves are expected to raise annual gold production to between 450,000 ounces and 490,000 ounces from the second half of 2017 and further increases are anticipated, according to a Dec. 15 statement.
Throughput at the processing plant has been lifted to 7.5 million tonnes per annum from 5.8 Mtpa after AngloGold and Independence addressed the planned decline in production following the end of grade streaming last year and introduced a 600-tonne hydraulic shovel to accelerate mining rates.
Accelerated mining and grade streaming has restarted and is expected to increase the average processed head grade from 1.8 g/t of gold to 2.3 g/t of gold over the next three years.
In addition, reserves have climbed 58%, to 60.1 million tonnes at 1.97 g/t for 3.8 million contained gold ounces, and resources now stand at 148.1 million tonnes at 1.68 g/t for 8.0 million contained gold ounces following the addition of 500,000 contained ounces over the past six months.
Further reserves growth is expected from Havana South and Boston Shaker in 2017 once technical studies are complete. Data from about 40,000 meters of drilling, primarily at Havana South and Boston Shaker, has not yet been included in the resource estimate.
This could lead to a life-of-mine extension of three years, to 2030, according to Independence Group.
Tropicana produced 296,000 ounces in the first nine months of this year.