By Josh White
Date: Thursday 19 Mar 2020
LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Highland Gold Mining announced the first gold pour at its premier development project Kekura on Thursday, which occurred on 10 March.
The AIM-traded firm said the inaugural gold bar, weighing 46 ounces, was produced at the mine's pilot processing plant following renovations to the facility last year, and commissioning work in the first two months of 2020.
It said initial stripping and ore mining at Kekura began last October.
The pilot processing plant had the capacity to treat 120,000 tonnes of ore per year, Highland said, with test work showing recoveries of around 35%.
Middlings from the pilot plant would be stored for eventual treatment at Kekura's main processing plant, which was due for completion in late 2022 and had a designed annual capacity of 800,000 tonnes, with recoveries of around 85%.
"On behalf of everyone at the company, I would like to congratulate the Kekura team on their first gold pour," said chief executive officer Denis Alexandrov.
"While we don't expect significant production from Kekura this year, the early mining and processing work currently underway at the site will help us to build a strong team, to fine tune systems, to better understand the ore body, and to prepare for a smooth launch of commercial production down the road."
Highland Gold said that since the beginning of the year, 3,500 tonnes of cargo had been delivered to Kekura to support construction and mining efforts, including 1,900 tonnes of fuel and the mill for the 800,000 tonnes per annum processing plant.
Another 5,000 tonnes of cargo was due to be delivered by the end of the winter road season, including 320 modules for construction of the expanded camp.
At Belaya Gora, Highland Gold said it was entering the final stages of renovations to the processing plant, which was on track for completion as scheduled in the second half of the year.
The board said the addition of a carbon in pulp (CIP) circuit to the plant was expected to improve gold recovery to around 90%, from the current average of about 75%.
It said it would also enable the plant to process ore from the nearby Blagodatnoye deposit.
"All of the equipment for the project, from Chinese supplier Jinpeng Mining Machinery, has been delivered to Highland Gold's logistics base in Vladivostok," the company said.
"The first 25 containers of equipment have been shipped onward to Belaya Gora, while the remaining equipment will be transported in May.
"Site preparations for construction are already at an advanced stage."
At Novoshirokinskoye, the firm said the planned expansion of mining and processing capacity from 800,000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes per annum was also entering its final stages, and was likewise set for completion later in the year.
TOMRA X-ray transmission (XRT) ore separators, ordered from German producer Outotec, had been manufactured, tested and certified.
They were currently being shipped to Novo, and were expected to arrive in May.
Highland said the machinery would enable the processing plant to sort and treat increased production from Novo's mine, without the need to change the capacity of the existing metallurgical plant.
At 1349 GMT, shares in Highland Gold Mining were down 8.48% at 150p.
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