The ore reserve at December 31, 2018, was 7.1 million tonnes at 1.6 g/t gold for 375,300 ounces, up from the December 2017 total of 221,600 ounces, net of mining depletion of 98,902 ounces.
Nullagine's mineral resource as of December 31 was 22.9 million tonnes at 1.6 g/t for 1.16 million ounces, with around 65% of the total in the higher confidence measured and indicated categories.
Mine life visibility is now approaching four years, based on Millennium’s targeted annual production rate of around 100,000 ounces.
The updated reserve includes a maiden reserve estimate for Golden Gate Underground mine at 220,600 tonnes at 3.8 g/t for 27,100 ounces of contained gold, underpinned by strong metallurgical results on arsenopyrite-dominant sulphide ore.
Exploration and growth strategies driving mine life
Millennium CEO Peter Cash said the company’s exploration and growth strategies were driving growth in mine life.
“We are on a strong upward trajectory, with our ongoing growth initiatives successfully driving mine life growth at Nullagine.
“This has been a result of our highly successful drilling programs, coupled with the very positive outcomes being delivered by our sulphide metallurgical work, which has confirmed recoveries from our low-cost, two-stage plant upgrade.
“This puts us on track to develop our second underground mine at Nullagine at the Golden Gate Mining Centre later this year and potentially opens up further significant parts of our mineral resource inventory for conversion to ore reserves.”
The company’s focus is to further increase its ore reserve base to deliver a plus-five year mine life with opportunities to deliver near-term ore reserve growth through the conversion of additional sulphide mineral resources and further exploration success.
Millennium is now proceeding with a two-stage expansion of the Nullagine processing plant, with stage I comprising the addition of in-mill oxidation (INOX) and stage II comprising the addition of the PINOX processing capability.
The upgrade will be completed for a total capital cost of around $15 million with the commission expected in April 2019.
Stage II will be completed in early 2020 for a total capital cost of $5 million.
Cash said: “We have a multi-pronged exploration program underway with a number of high-priority exploration targets to be tested in the coming months.”
The annual production guidance for 2019 is 90,000-100,000 ounces at an AISC $1,300-$1,375 per ounce.
- Jessica Cummins