Gold mine records higher production
The Lihir Gold mine recorded production of 207,000 ounces in the June quarter, 11 per cent higher than the prior quarter driven by a seven per cent increase in head grade and a two per cent improvement in recovery rates.
According to the quarterly report ended June 30, the increase in head grade reflects higher grade ore from the eastern side of Phase 14, with the improvement in recovery driven by the higher grades and a higher proportion of material being directly fed to the autoclaves.
The report said the increase in stripping as the mine transitions towards the Kapit pit has required a higher ratio of stockpiled ore (relative to mined ore) being delivered to the processing plant, lowering overall processed grade for the year.
“The higher proportion of stockpile ore feed has also resulted in reduced autoclave throughput as the clays in the stockpile feed create materials handling issues and increase viscosity affecting oxygen transfer in the autoclaves,” the report stated.
“The lower autoclave throughput in turn required an increase in ore flotation, reducing overall recovery rates for the year.
“Improvement programmes are underway to address the materials handling system and the ability of the autoclaves to better handle ore with higher clay levels.
“AISC (All In Sustaining Costs) per ounce was 17 per cent higher than the prior quarter reflecting an increase in sustaining capital expenditure, lower sales volumes and higher site costs which were primarily related to the preventative management of risks associated with Covid-19.”
The price of gold has increased sharply as of late due to Covid-19.
The report stated that: “To date, Lihir has not experienced any Covid-19 related disruptions to the supply of goods or services or to its workforce.
“To manage the potential impacts of Covid-19 to production, Lihir increased its key inventory holdings to mitigate against disruptions to the supply chain, implemented longer rosters and regularly engaged with key service providers.
“National travel restrictions to reduce the risk of Covid-19 have been in place since March 2020. Having obtained the necessary approvals, Lihir received its first incoming flight allowing a change of workforce on June 13, 2020.”