Over 2M ounces of gold expected from Aurora’s underground mining operations


first_imgAurora Gold Mines is earmarking an investment of US$120 million for underground mining over the next 15 years, and it is estimated that some two million ounces of gold could be produced therefrom.Guyana Goldfields Inc’s gold mining operationThis disclosure was made on Sunday during a media tour of the Canada-based company’s Aurora Gold Mines in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), where this new operation is planned to be conducted.While giving media operatives a tour of Rory’s Knoll Pit, which is currently the largest on site, Mine Manager at Guyana Goldfields Inc., Clyde Gillespie, disclosed that drilling is expected to begin later this year.According to him, the depth of the open pit is currently 80 metres below sea level. However, when drilling begins for the underground mining, the depth of the pit could reach 1.2 kilometres below sea level.The official noted that many Guyanese will have a chance to work in the underground mining. The idea, according to Gillespie, is to hire contractors who will, in turn, train the local workforceMeanwhile, the company has outlined a process by which it would work towards maintaining safety against a collapse of the tunnel leading to the underground gold deposit. It was explained to media operative that geotechnical engineers will help to determine how this could be achieved.Gillespie said, “There are many different types of ground support we use, but it’s all engineered, and we test those roof bolts to determine how much stress or how much pressure they will take. So, in that, we will assure that our people can work safely underground.”Another company official explained that workers would drill the underground tunnel from another pit dubbed Mad Kiss Pit, to access the ore deposit at Rory’s Knoll. While Rory’s Knoll Pit may contain more ounces of gold underground, another pit dubbed Mad Kiss could contain 107,000 ounces of gold.Open pit mining at Rory’s Knoll is expected to continue for the next three and a half years, smaller pits to 2031, and underground mining would begin in 2018 and last until 2033.President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guyana Goldfields Inc., Scott Caldwell, first announcement this major investment in early February. In revealing these plans, Caldwell said studies have already been completed, and a feasibility report would determine the commencement date.Caldwell explained that the company had initially forecasted starting underground mining in four years’ time, but has decided to bring forward those plans. “Our previous (outlook) was four years from now, so it would have started in 2022… (But) this study is looking at starting sooner than that,” he disclosed.Since commencing operations here, the Guyana Goldfields Inc, which operates the Aurora Gold Mines, has touted its intentions of starting underground mining. According to him, starting the operations sooner than its initial forecasted date would allow for longer time to train and get the workforce up to speed.Caldwell noted that a higher quality of gold lies below the base of the Aurora Mines, but the company cannot expand the pit further because of the Cuyuni River, so the other option is to go underground. This method, he added, would result in less disturbance to the environment.Moreover, Caldwell stated that in order to start driving tunnel underground, the company has already expended some US$4 million to conduct studies, all of which found positive results about the operation. In fact, he noted that several million dollars have also been spent on risk analysis and drill testing, including hydrology testing, soil testing, rock mechanics, and so on.In a feasibility study report released by Guyana Goldfields just over a year ago, it was stated that the development of the underground operation was scheduled to commence in 2022, with first production expected in 2024 at the cost of US$129 million.The study results show underground mining creates minimal surface subsidence, and indicate water inflows are manageable, as has been proven by existing open pit mining activities.The company is looking to be the premiere underground mining not only in Guyana, but in all of South America.last_img

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