Tindals gold mine is located 35km west of Kalgoorlie near the town of Coolgardie in Western Australia. The mine is 100% owned by Focus Minerals, which also operates The Mount underground mine in the Coolgardie region.
Gold production at Tindals under Focus Minerals’ ownership started in April 2008.
Tindals mining comprises of both underground and open-pit operations. Focus started mining gold from Tindals with the underground operation. Production commenced from new open pits at the mine site in April 2011.
The initial phase of production from the Tindals underground mine was completed by the end of 2012. The current mining plan focuses on production from Tindals open pits for at least five years.
The ongoing drilling and exploration activities at the mine are, however, likely to expand both the surface and underground resource base at Tindals with a potential mine life extension.
Development details of Tindals gold project
The Redemption Joint Venture (RJV), formed in 2005 by Focus Minerals and Committee Bay Resources, bought the Coolgardie Gold Project (110km²) from the Herald and Leviathan Resources Joint Venture.
In 2006, drilling was carried out in the project area based on the historic data. Feasibility studies for the Tindals underground project were carried out subsequently. Production from the project commenced in April 2008.
Focus acquired 100% ownership of the Coolgardie project in May 2008.
Tindals gold mine geology
The Tindals deposit is located in the Coolgardie Goldfield that lies towards the west of Norseman-Wiluna greenstone belt formed about 2,700 million years ago. The goldfield, hosted in the Yilgarn Craton, also includes the Geko, Greenfields, Kunduna, Gibraltar, Bayleys and Three Mile Hill deposits.
The ore deposits host composite batholiths including monzogranites, tonalites, porphyritic granodiorites and granites.
Gold reserves at Tindals
The Tindals gold reserves as of June 2012 stood at 93,000oz grading 2.5g/t Au. It includes 7,000oz of proven and 86,000oz of probable gold reserves.
Production from Tindals
The Tindals underground produced 45,000t of ore per month. The open-pit operations at Tindals produce 30,000t of ore per month.
Details of the Tindals Underground Project
Tindals underground operation mainly consists of five ore bodies namely Tindals, Cyanide, Perseverance, Empress and Countess.
The current working depth for the underground operation is up to 400m beneath the surface, with the mining potential existing even deeper.
Focus Mineral’s first phase of the Tindals underground development was carried out by Barminco under a contract period from July 2007 to October 2012.
The underground operation, commissioned by Focus in April 2008, has produced more than 200,000oz of gold till date.
Reserve development and exploration drilling is underway to commence the next phase of gold production.
Tindals open pit operation
Fimiston Open Pit "Super Pit" Gold Mine, Australia
The Fimiston open pit mine, also known as Super Pit and Golden Mile, is the largest open pit gold mine in Australia, measuring 3.5km in length, 1.5km in width and 360m in depth.
The open pit operation at Tindals, which was commissioned by Focus in April 2011, comprises 13 surface deposits along a 2km strike. The deposits include Baileys, Lindsay, Dreadnought, Cookes, New Australasian, Brilliant, Big Blow pit and Alicia.
Barcon, a Kalgoorlie-based mining contractor, is developing the Tindals open-pits on behalf of Focus. The mining operation is currently focussed on three open pits. The Dreadnought, Big Blow and the Baileys pits were being developed, as of 2012, based on positive drilling results of at these sites.
The current mine plan for the Tindals Open pit operation is to sustain the production of 30,000t of ore per month over five years while expanding the surface resource at Tindals.
Mining and processing at Tindals Gold Mine
The conventional open-pit method, involving drill, blast, loads and haul operations, is employed for mining the open pits at Tindals.
The mining method for the Tindals underground operation is the conventional sublevel open stoping, carried out through long holes in a top-down sequence without any back-fill.
The ore is transported by trucks to the Three Mile Hill processing plant, located 5km to the north of the mine site. The processing plant, owned and operated by Focus, has the capacity to process 1.3 million tonnes of ore per year.
The processing plant, re-commissioned by Focus in 2009 after a $22m refurbishment, is installed with primary, secondary and tertiary crushers and a new cyclone cluster.