Peak Gold Mines general manager Greg Bowkett has painted a positive picture of the future of the mine at last week’s public community consultation meeting.
He told approximately 50 members of the public who attended the meeting at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club on Thursday night that while the mine, (like many other mining operations in Australia) was currently “surviving” he expects “without a doubt” it will go ahead “in leaps and bounds in the next few years”.
Mr Bowkett said initial results from Peak’s recent drilling activity were “pretty substantial”.
“It’s been a long time since a general manager at Peak has stood up and told you that we have a mine life of seven up to 16 years,” Mr Bowkett said.
He said exploration is an essential part of the mine’s operation.
“For us to continue to operate and extend our life of mine, we must find at least 100,000 ounces of gold per year to replace what we mine in the previous year.”
Mr Bowkett said a seismic event earlier this year at the Perseverance body had caused “a considerable amount of damage” with work stopped for six weeks.
He said Perseverance was their richest ore body and that as a result of the damage the company expected to lose about 13,000 ounces in production.
However Mr Bowkett expects a number of cost cutting measures that have been deployed across all areas of the mine will counteract that loss.
Peak’s exploration geologist and manager Ian Mackenzie also spoke at the meeting outlining some of the drilling projects the company had carried out.
He said in the past 23 years exploration crews have been working in an 8km zone but there are “still gaps” they haven’t drilled yet.
Underground exploration by the mine over the past year has been focused on their Perseverance, Peak, Chesney, New Cobar and Jubilee ore bodies.
“We’ve been very successful,” Mr Mackenzie said.
He said in the past six months they have had some success drilling under and around the edges of the currently mined zone, particularly at the top end of the Perseverance field.
He said they were also “very encouraged” by testing from the southern end with the level of surface mineralisation of the Great Cobar body down to about 700 or 800 metres.
Mr Mackenzie said they would carry out further metallurgical testing and look at the economics of mining in that area.
He said in the coming months follow-up mapping and surface sampling will be undertaken from the airborne geophysical survey conducted last year.
“It’s been very encouraging and we’re optimistic about the mine life,” Mr Mackenzie said.
The meeting’s organiser, Peak’s environment and social responsibility superintendent Chris Higgins, said he was very pleased with the good roll up for last week’s meeting.
He said it provided the mine with invaluable feedback and gave the company an opportunity to let the community know what they were doing.
In addition to reporting on their exploration activity, staff also outlined the community donation’s program; presented their 2014 Sustainability Report; gave a brief overview on the activities of their parent company New Gold; and also took questions from the floor about a range of subjects.