The Laverton Gold Project is located around 250km northeast of Kalgoorlie in the Laverton district of Western Australia. The mine covers an area of 1,200km2 surrounding the town of Laverton.
The gold project is owned 81.57% by the Australian gold producer Focus Minerals, which is also operating three mines in Coolgardie region of Western Australia.
The Laverton Gold Project consists of eight open pit operations at the site. Gold production at Laverton under Focus Minerals’ ownership started in the last quarter of 2011. The mine is currently producing around 100,000 ounces (oz) of gold a year.
The ongoing drilling and exploration at the Laverton gold mine suggest significant resource expansion with potential mine life extension.
Laverton gold project history
Laverton gold mine was originally owned by Sons of Gwalia ,who sold the mine to Focus Technologies in July 2002. Focus Technologies was renamed twice before it came to be known as Crescent Gold in June 2004.
The Laverton mining operation was ceased on several occasions because of plant upgrades and operational reviews. Crescent incurred a loss of $28.8m on Laverton operation in 2007-’08. The JORC-compliant resource of Laverton project was, however, upgraded from 0.67 million ounces (moz) in 2003 to 1.53moz in 2008.
In February 2009, Crescent entered into an agreement with Barrick Gold for processing Laverton ore at the latter’s Granny Smith Gold processing facility, while Crescent’s Barnicoat processing facility was put under care and maintenance.
Mining recommenced at Laverton in August 2009 and Barrick processed the first Laverton ore in October of the same year.
Finally, Focus Minerals purchased majority interest in the Laverton Gold Project with its acquisition of Crescent Gold (now known as Focus Laverton) in an off-market takeover in August 2011. Focus Minerals issued an unconditional off-market takeover offer to purchase the remaining interest in the mine in April 2013.
Laverton Greenstone Belt geology
Laverton Gold project is situated on the Laverton Greenstone Belt (LGB) in the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia. The LBG, which bears rich content of gold, is believed to be more than 2,500m years old.
The LBG hosts other gold mines including Granny Smith, Sunrise Dam and Wallaby. Gold production from the belt is estimated to be in excess of 28moz.
Laverton gold mine reserves
The gold reserves at the Laverton Gold Project as of July 2013 were estimated to be 213,000oz grading at 2.9g/t Au. The total resources of the project stood at 1.83moz grading at 2.5g/t Au.
Gold production from Laverton project
Gold production from the Laverton operations during the financial year 2013 was 81,191oz at an average grade of 1.36g/t Au.
Mining and processing of ore at Laverton
The Laverton mining operation consists of eight open pits: Kiora, Mt.Crawford, Craiggiemore, Admiral Hill Trend, Barnicoat, Prendergast well, Karridale and Burtville. Mining focus was on Burtville by the beginning of 2013. Mineral resource at Burtville is estimated to be 235,000oz grading at 1.3g/t.
The open-pit mining at Laverton is carried out using drill and blast method. Ore is removed from the pit through load and haul.
Mining and Civil Australia (MACA), a mining services provider, was awarded a contract worth $45m in November 2012 to carry out drilling and blasting at the mine, along with load and haul services until May 2014.
The Laverton ore is sent to the Granny Smith processing plant located 20km away from the mine as part of the ore purchase agreement with Barrick Gold.
Exploration and resource development
The Golden Grove mine is located in Western Australia, approximately 450km northeast of Perth and 280km east of Geraldton.
The Laverton Gold project offers significant potential for extending existing mines and exploring new discoveries.
A $2.3m development drilling programme towards the east of Burtville was started in early 2013 aiming at upgrading the resource and defining the reserve at Burtville.
A Rotary Air Blast (RAB) and aircore programme recently conducted at Laverton site has also identified new discoveries in Lord Byron and Mt Crawford areas.
The Rotary Air Blast (RAB) and aircore programme recently conducted at Laverton site has also identified new discoveries in Lord Byron and Mt Crawford areas.
So far, the drilling activities in the project area have been carried out at a shallow depth of up to 150m from the surface. Future exploration is planned for higher grade mineralisation at depth. An underground project, Summit underground, is currently in the feasibility stage.