GoldStone commences mining and ore stacking at the Homase mine in Ghana
GoldStone Resources announced that mining and ore stacking at the Homase Mine within its Akrokeri-Homase Gold Project (AKHM), in Ghana has commenced with the first mined ore having been successfully stacked onto the heap leach pad.
The first eight months production of the Homase Mine is forecast to produce some 25,000 ounces of gold, at a total cash cost, pre-tax, of under US$600per ounce. These figures have been derived by the Company, which believes the cash cost lies within the lower quartile of industry cost standards.
Planned gold production for the first eight months from commencement of mining now exceeds the Company's original guidance of 14,400 ounces per annum, stated in the Definitive Economic Plan (DEP), announced on 19 June 2019. Accordingly, the Company expects to increase the planned production rate to around 50,000 ounces of gold per annum, which would represent an increase of more than 300% from the original production schedule.
The Company is continuing to review the options available for extracting saleable gold from the loaded carbon it is producing, including toll treatment or expanding its own processing facility to include an elution plant and gold room. In this regard, Goldstone expects to make a decision shortly depending on the terms offered by existing third party processing facilities and any financing options that may be available, however notes that additional funding may be required in the coming months depending on the timing and cost associated with such arrangements.
The Company can confirm that mining operations, which began in April 2021, following the pre-stripping and clearing of the Homase mine site, continue to perform well. The daily mining rate and the growth in the primary and secondary run-of-mine stockpiles are performing at or above the targeted levels.
Concerning the Heap Leach Processing Plant, all of the mechanical and electrical components, associated with the dry plant, for the agglomerated ore transport and stacking has been assembled, it includes screening plant, grasshopper conveyors and an extendable stacker, which has been positioned and ore stacking has commenced.
The first two cells (combined area 13,000m2) of the heap leach pad, which will comprise a total of seven cells, for approximately 73,000m2, have been commissioned, enabling stacking at an initial rate of 100 tonnes per hour to commence, which is ramping up to a target of 200 tonnes per hour / c.2,500 tonnes per day. Cyanide has been delivered and other reagents are on site, with piping expected to be completed within the next two weeks followed by irrigation.
Emma Priestley, Chief Executive Officer, GoldStone Resources: "After a tremendous amount of hard work by the entire GoldStone Team, invariably affected by Covid pandemic-related delays, we are pleased to inform our shareholders that we are now stacking ore onto the heap leach pads. This is a pivotal step in the evolution of the Company as we start production of the Homase Mine. Commencement of operations will lead to an ongoing revenue stream and will also establish a base for unlocking value in our AKHM project. I would like to thank the staff in Ghana for the successful startup of the Homase Mine. A further benefit from the commencement of production at Homase is that exploration team will now be able to proceed with drilling the Homase Mineralised Trend that lies below and along strike of the current 602,000 ounce JORC resource, with a view to extending the mine's original 5 year life. The exploration team has previously limited its work on this initiative, as the production startup at Homase has been the Company's priority."