…plans afoot for US$70M expansion
Guyana Goldfields Incorporated projects that it will produce 170,000 ounces of gold in 2017. Last year the company produced over 150,000 ounces from the Aurora Mine which it operates.
This was revealed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Caldwell during a media brunch at the Guyana Marriott Hotel yesterday.
He said that so far production was strong for January and has continued into February.
“This year, we think we’ll make about 170,000 ounces of gold if everything goes the way we think it will. So far, one month down, things are looking pretty good.”
The Company has built the biggest gold mining operation in Guyana and according to Caldwell, there is to be additional growth as exploration efforts are underway. He said that this is being handled by Violet Smith, the company’s Country Manager.
“We’re going to start near the Aurora mine on some targets, hopefully extending the mine life there and slowly expanding to other targets in Guyana. We’re so confident in our success on exploration we’ve bought another mill and we’ve imported most of the mill; we have some more parts to bring in. We’re storing it at our Buckhall facility, waiting for when we will deploy that mill. It’s a modular system, which could be set up very very quickly but the mill and power plant are all that has been purchased.”
According to Caldwell, the remaining parts will be in Guyana over the next few months. As it relates to expanding the Aurora mine, the CEO said that the company has just begun expansion at the location and plans to add a number of tanks and a ball mill.
He said that the total cost for the expansion is approximately US$70M. “It will increase our production on an annualised basis from the 150,000 ounces level we’re at now, to about 200,000 to 210,000 ounces of gold per year.
“We still have a very long mine life at Aurora. Between surface and underground operations, we have a 15 year mine life. Again, we are starting to look for more ore to add to that. We would like to expand; we intend to expand the mill. It’s a small expansion. Its relatively easy, nothing like the new one we have just built and the construction we just went through. We would only have about a 100 to maybe 80 people on the construction side of things.”
Caldwell added that wherever necessary, the company is going to use local contractors to build the new mill. He said that infrastructure such as the truck shop will be fabricated here in Guyana similar to the dormitory that was just built on the site to accommodate workers.
“We’re hopeful that we can do most of this construction with Guyanese contractors and not bring in a lot of expatriate foreign multinational companies like we did last time. If we can do it that way, we’re excited about that program.”
In spite of the publicized effects of mining on the surrounding physical environment, the company through its environmental monitoring programme headed by Monique Williams, has begun recording animal populations, to ascertain if they are being affected by mining. She said yesterday that the company is involved in a number of environmental activities to ensure the company complies with the Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the local environmental permit.
According to Williams, probably the most exciting of all of the activities that the company is involved in is the bio-diversity monitoring. As a part of this programme, employees are required to report all animal findings. This is then matched against data recorded at the location prior to the commencement of operations.
Further, Health and Safety Coordinator Michael Williams said that the work which his department has done so far will be further improved by assessing the key performance indicators.
He stressed that safety for employees, contractors, visitors and students is of utmost importance. One of the measures employed by the company is to ensure that each employee completes a training course before they are transferred to a specific department. Williams stressed that the company tries to ensure that each person is returned to their families regardless of what aspect of mining they are involved in. Thus far they have recorded zero serious incidents.
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