Theta Gold Mines Ltd (ASX:TGM) is progressing with the development of its flagship Theta Gold Project in South Africa with the plant construction tender process underway for the 600,000 tonnes per annum process plant.
In other developments, a draft mining contract has been completed with the preferred mining contractor with a final contract expected during the current half.
Draft mining costs are in line with the costs released in the feasibility study of May 2019.
All required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies and documentation have been submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) for amendment of MR 83 for open-pit mining.
Theta Gold Mines chairman Bill Guy said the company had achieved some key milestones in developing the project - “Starting tendering for plant construction, submission of EIA for ‘Starter Theta Open-pit Project’ and completion of the draft mining contract.
“We’re very pleased that the mining contract supports the feasibility study costings.
“Following the previous announcements for the successful optimisation plant design study and the purchase of the 2.5-megawatt ball mill, the Theta Project continues to progress towards production.”
The company has been working with Minxcon Group and a South African owned and based mining contractor group to fine-tune the mining schedule in relation to the recently announced increase in annual process production capacity to 600,000 tonnes.
Next steps will be further detailed negotiations with the selected mining contractor to finalise all legal, commercial and technical aspects required before final sign off with a final contract expected in the first half of the year.
The design work supporting the process plant construction tender has been prepared by METS Engineering South Africa following plant design optimisation work which caters for the expansion of up to 1.2 million tonnes per annum as the project grows.
This design also incorporates the newly purchased 2.5-megawatt ball mill.
The tender will be based on an Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC)/Lump Sum Turnkey (LSTK) basis and the company expects to complete the plant build tenders by late in the second quarter of 2020.
Mining right amendment
All required environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies and documentation have been submitted to the DMRE for amendment of mining right 83 from underground to open-pit mining.
In South Africa, active engagement is required with all stakeholders, and the permitting process is ongoing until the DMRE makes a final decision based on EIS content and stakeholder comments.
A final decision is expected in the second quarter of the year.
The company is confident the permitting risk of MR83 is mitigated by the project having multiple pits.