The Buck Reef West pit at Ravenswood gold mine in Queensland, Australia, is reportedly set to undergo a major expansion.
The latest move is expected to create at least 150 jobs by the end of this year, ABC News reported.
In March, Resolute Mining sold the Ravenswood gold mine to a consortium comprising a fund managed by resources private equity manager EMR Capital Management and Singapore-listed mining and energy company Golden Energy and Resources.
Under the expansion, the new 220m deep pit will extend for nearly 0.5km, about 0.2km from Ravenswood township.
Nearly 250,000oz of gold will be produced per annum from 7.2 million tonnes (Mt) of processed ore, making Ravenswood the largest mine in Queensland.
The news agency cited Ravenswood Gold CEO Brett Fletcher as stating that the expansion works comprise a new open-pit mine.
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The expansion also includes $200m works to increase ore processing capacity.
Brett Fletcher stated: “Buck Reef West is a historic mining area, we’ll be moving back into it to start mining through open-pit technique in December.
“We’re looking to produce initially around five million tonnes per year, we’ll be taking that up to seven million tonnes per year over the next couple of years.
Since 1868, four million ounces of gold have been mined at Ravenswood. An additional 4Moz will be mined in the next 14 years.
Fletcher added: “That will make Ravenswood Gold by far the largest gold mine in Queensland.
“We’ll be ramping up to an additional 250 jobs, we’re targeting a workforce of around about 410, we’ve already put 70 new people on.
“At this stage, who knows where the future will take us, we could end up being a super pit operation as well.”
Test blasts were already started at Buck Reef West. These tests are to ‘refine the vibration models’ and ‘remain within legal bounds’ set by environmental authorities.
Ravenswood Gold Pty Ltd operations general manager Dave Mackay said that a ‘fourth mill would be added’ as part of the expansion.
Mackay noted that the final dimensions of the new Buck Reef West pit will be 450m across and 220m deep.
In August last year, Resolute commenced the first stage of the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP) at the Ravenswood gold mine.