The mine has now resumed production and the company is ahead on all key mining metrics, supporting the planned mill start-up scheduled for early August. Backfill, waste and ore development are meeting or exceeding expectations. Longhole blasting and ore haulage rates are improving daily. A significant stockpile has been built up to feed the mill on restart.
Transition to owner-operator is proceeding as planned. Significant interest has been received from mine contractors looking to transition to full-time.
A 1,200-tonne-per-day feasibility study is under way: The company is considering an expansion of the Sugar Zone Mine to 1,200 tpd to maximize value and cash-generative potential of the current resource. The feasibility study is expected in Q4 2020.
Ore definition and extension drilling has started at Sugar Zone North and South areas with the following objectives: de-risk planning, improve ore body geometry definition and target potential upside. The company has budgeted for 16,000 metres of ore definition and extension drilling for this year.
Near-mine drilling is expected to start in August with the focus on extending near-mine mineralization along strike at the Sugar Zone South and Wolf zone areas and testing parallel structures and geophysical anomalies.
Sam Coetzer, President and CEO, commented: “During my visit to the Sugar Zone Mine earlier this week, I was encouraged by the focus and commitment of the team to effect a positive restart. The underground team is highly motivated to achieve its goals and the processing team is eager to turn on the mill, which is expected to occur next week.
“Mine management is also well under way to deliver a seamless transition to owner-operator, which is expected to be completed over the next few months.”
The Sugar Zone Mine entered commercial production in 2019. Stated production guidance is 20,000 to 24,000 ounces gold for 2020 and 60,000 to 65,000 oz for 2021. The company has further potential through exploration at the Sugar Zone property, which encompasses 79,335 hectares covering a significant greenstone belt.