In July 2015 Peak Gold Mines’ general manager Greg Bowkett announced that Peak “would go ahead in leaps and bounds” over the next few years.
Almost one year later and after a fall in ore prices and an increase in production costs, Mr Bowkett has had to revise his forecast.
At the mine’s community consultation meeting last Tuesday night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club, Mr Bowkett said while Peak still had a good future, they would however be going to “do it tough this year”.
He said with a fall in ore prices and based on current costs and production the current life of mine was now 2019.
In the past six months Mr Bowkett said Peak had spent $5million on drilling with some very promising high grade ore found at a number of exploration targets below the old mine workings.
He said these findings have the potential to extend the life of mine for 17-21 years.
Mr Bowkett said their focus in the next five years would be on five of those targets.
“However it’s a couple of years before we get to the production stage.
“Time is the most important thing that’s working against us; we’re running out of time.”
He said mining and processing the higher grades of ore found to be in these targets would necessitate a change in their future operations.
He said as copper production was a major component of their business, and copper prices were continuing to fall, there was an urgent need to lower their current operating costs.
According to their 2015 Sustainability Report the mine’s business improvement team, established in January 2015, last year assisted with a number of departmental projects that have helped to make $4million in savings and production improvements.
Mr Bowkett said he expected further improvements will be made again this year.
In addition to giving information about the mine’s exploration activities, staff at last week’s meeting also spoke about the mine’s improved safety record (which is now better than the average for all metalliferous mines in Australia); presented the mine’s 2015 Sustainability Report; outlined the rehabilitation work that is being carried out at the mine site; discussed the ongoing management of blast vibrations; and outlined Peak’s involvement with community projects.
Among the projects the mine has been involved in were the donation of a PA system to the Cobar Miners Race Club, sponsorship of the youth council’s fun day in the park and their continued involvement in the Heritage Park miner’s memorial project.
Mr Bowkett said the mine’s annual community consultation meetings aim to give the public a first hand update of the happenings at the mine and are also an opportunity for staff to get feedback from the public.