Ora Banda Mining Limited (ASX:OBM) has begun wet commissioning of the processing plant at Davyhurst Gold Project and is on track to pour the first gold bar by the end of this month.
After making impressive progress at the project in WA’s Eastern Goldfields during the December quarter, Ora Banda started road haulage of ore to the process plant on January 2, 2021, using two road trains.
A third road train has been added to the haulage fleet as the supply of low-grade commissioning feed to the ROM pad ramps up while haulage of ore from Riverina open pit is expected to begin during this week.
The first parcel of low-grade commissioning ore was fed into the primary crusher on January 17.
"Exciting year ahead"
In an interview with Proactive’s Andrew Scott, Ora Banda’s managing director David Quinlivan spoke about the developments that took place in the December quarter and expectations for 2021.
Quinlivan said the company was upbeat with an exciting year ahead.
He said: “The first six months of the year could see 33,000 ounces coming through, and when we ramp-up the production to full capacity, we are looking at around 80,000-85,000 ounces production per annum for the next four and half years.
“We are on track for that at this moment.”
The company’s pre-feasibility study was carried out a price of $2,100 per ounce but gold is trading at higher and is expected to remain so this year.
Quinlivan said: “It should be full steam ahead. Now we have kicked off on it is a matter of onwards and upwards only.”
Approximately 40,000 tonnes of commissioning feed has been hauled to the Davyhurst ROM pad.
Work in December quarter
The company spent around $1.09 million in the December quarter on exploration and evaluation activities.
Exploration and evaluation activities included drilling, assaying of samples and data evaluation at the Davyhurst Gold Project.
Work was progressed on various projects including the process plant, Riverina open-pit mining, Riverina underground mining at Golden Eagle and other infrastructure & services.
Process plant refurbishment
GR Engineering Services (GRES) continued with the refurbishment, optimisation and recommissioning of the existing 1.2 million tonnes per annum Davyhurst Gold Processing Plant, bore fields and associated infrastructure.
The remedial works program has been executed on budget and to a high standard. Dry commissioning of the plant commenced on schedule in December and wet commissioning has commenced on schedule this month.
Significant tasks completed during the quarter include general site earthworks for proper site drainage concrete and steel restoration works throughout the plant and the refurbishment of the primary, secondary and tertiary crushers and their feed/discharge hoppers.
Open pit mining – Riverina
During the quarter, OBM started mining operations to build stocks ahead of the beginning of the process plant operations in January 2021.
At Riverina during the quarter, a total of 26,937 metres of reverse circulation in-pit grade control drilling at a 7.5-metre line spacing and 5 metre-hole spacing was completed.
Results returned have provided a positive reconciliation in terms of both total ore tonnes and total ounces.
Conversion of the existing Riverina Station homestead to the mine office and the installation of various secondary buildings was completed in early October.
The installation of primary site services (power, water and communications) was also completed in early October allowing operational management and control of the Riverina Open Pit to relocate to the mine area from the company's central office at Davyhurst.
Material mined during the quarter was predominantly ‘free dig’ and productivity steadily increased as wider benches were established.
Underground mining – Golden Eagle
Dewatering of the Golden Eagle underground mine started during the quarter with the initial dewatering program being conducted via a borehole that had intersected the underground mine workings near the bottom of the mine.
The underground mining contractor, Pit N Portal mobilised to site in December and re-established access to the mine.
Power supply and ventilation were reinstated without issue allowing dewatering and rehabilitation of the mine workings to be accelerated.
All underground work areas and escape ways were in very good condition, and external geotechnical experts recommended only a modest regime of a bolt and cable testing.
Small quantities of ore remain accessible in underground stockpiles and the first planned stope panel of ore is drilled out.
Riverina camp nearing completion at quarter-end.
Installation of the new liquified natural gas (LNG) storage and distribution facilities by EVOL and the installation of a total installed power generation capacity of 9.5 MW by Aggreko, were completed during the quarter.
The new power station was pre-commissioned in December 2020 in preparation for dry commissioning of the processing plant followed by the wet commissioning and recommencement of processing operations in January 2021.
Power demand will increase as processing operations at Davyhurst are progressively ramped up to full nominated capacity during the March quarter.
To ensure sufficient water supplies are available for operations and residential purposes a water drilling exploration program was undertaken during the quarter.
The upgraded Davyhurst Village (172 rooms) was fully operational throughout the quarter and is now at near full capacity.
The company ended the year with zero debt and has $32 million cash in hand at the beginning of the year.
Quinlivan: “We are debt-free at the moment and finished the December quarter with 32 million cash in hand.”