FOCUS COMMENCES DEVELOPMENT OF THREE NEW OPEN PITS AT TINDALS MINING CENTRE
- Open pits aimed at increasing Focus’ production by 30,000oz pa
- Pits will form Focus’ third production platform in WA goldfields
- Increase in open pit probable reserves by 31%
- Drilling set to start on additional open pit targets at Tindals
Australian gold producer Focus Minerals (ASX: FML) is pleased to announce that it has started development of three open pits at its Tindals Mining Centre in Coolgardie, Western Australia, putting the Company on track to increase annualised production by 30,000 ounces.
Focus has appointed Kalgoorlie-based mining contractor Barcon to develop the pits and clearing has now commenced.
The open pits at the Tindals Mining Centre will form the third leg of Focus’ growing production strategy, joining its existing underground mining operations at the Tindals Mining Centre and its newly opened mine at The Mount, 80km to the south.
The pits will provide Focus with an important low-cost production base within 5km trucking distance of its Three Mile Hill processing plant in Coolgardie.
“This is another significant step forward in Focus’ plan to ramp-up production to 100,000oz in 2011 and then to 130,000oz in 2012,” Focus Chief Executive Campbell Baird said.
“We started 2011 with just one operating mine and in the space of four weeks we have commenced ore development from the Company’s second mine at The Mount, and now development of the third production centre at the open pits is underway.”
Focus will commence mining at the Empress, Big Blow and Dreadnought pits. Mr Baird said the three pits are among 13 deposits and prospects that Focus is developing across the 5km-long and 2km-wide Tindals Mining Centre.
The start of development coincides with a 31 per cent increase in open pit probable reserves to 505,000t at 2.14g/t for 34,700oz (Table 1). The reserve increase has been driven largely by a modest drilling programme at Big Blow that better defined shallow mineralisation to the south and almost doubled the ounces in reserve (Figure 1).
Reserve increases have also occurred at Empress and Alicia as work, including drilling, continued in preparation for mining and allowing for inferred resources to be converted to indicated and included in reserve statements. A small reserve has also been added at Cookes.
Mr Baird said off the back of the recent capital raising, new drilling programmes were about to start at a number of other targets as part of the plan to grow the open pit reserves and develop additional pits (Appendix 1).