Restructuring at Paddington gold mine

first_imgNorton Gold Fields is restructuring its mining operations at Paddington. Principal changes are a reduction in the mining fleet, replacement of the 24/7 mining roster with a continuous 12/7 roster, and a reduction in the workforce of around 25 people. These changes are practicable following the completion of the prestrip of both the Robinsons and Havana Pits that has led to lower ongoing strip rates; the mine is now able to source around 85% of mill feed from primary ore. The balance of mill feed will be from mineralised stockpiles. These changes continue the process initiated by Norton following the acquisition of Paddington to manage operating costs whilst preserving operating capability. Norton is making these changes and taking other actions to ensure the profitability in a wide range of circumstances. With the successful acquisition of Bellamel Mining announced today, a priority is to bring forward the development of the Bellamel tenements to improve the grade of ore delivered to the Paddington mill and develop a profitable heap leach operation. Starting in the first week of October, Paddington will conduct a one week production-run, processing stockpiled carbonaceous shale material. This offers the potential for an alternative source of mill feed, stockpiled 500 m from the mill. The stockpile could provide gold output similar to that of ore from open cut operations but at zero mining and minimal haulage cost. In excess of 1 Mt carbonaceous shale suitable for milling is contained in stockpiles near to the mill. Results will be reported in the September Quarterly.Norton is Australia’s fourth largest ASX-listed Australian gold producer. It also has active gold, copper, and coal exploration projects. The Bellamel acquisition provides Norton with the opportunity to develop a significant gold heap leach operation. Additionally, the Bellamel properties are prospective for underground development.Norton operates the Paddington gold mine near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and is planning to develop the Mount Morgan project in Queensland. Following the acquisition of Bellamel, Paddington has a 7.8 Moz resource and a 3 Mt/y CIP plant capable of producing more than 150,000 oz/y of gold. Norton is also planning its first underground operations in FY2010, which is expected to further increase production at Paddington.The company plans to augment this with production from its Mount Morgan project.last_img

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