Gold mining at the Agate Creek project in north Queensland is due to start this week, according to the latest update from 100% owner and operator Laneway Resources (ASX: LNY).
The Australian gold and coal explorer last week announced that the first ore blast and mining activities were expected to commence sometime this week, in line with previously advised timing.
The mining camp has been mobilised to site and is now fully established and ready for the first roster of mining personnel, who undertook site inductions a week ago, the company reported.
The mining fleet is now expected to have been mobilised and a bull dozer and grader are on-site undertaking pre-stripping of the open cut and waste dump areas, while haul roads are upgraded and additional signs and traffic signals are installed.
Once mining operations have officially commenced, ore transportation and processing will begin “shortly thereafter”, Laneway stated.
Small Caps contacted Laneway for an update on the exact timing of the mine’s commencement but is still awaiting a response.
Black Jack processing plant
At the start of March, Laneway was granted a mining lease over the Sherwood and Sherwood West near-surface high-grade gold deposits within its wholly-owned Agate Creek project.
The company has a mining and processing agreement with private operator Maroon Gold to process ore from the Agate Creek mine at Maroon’s recently recommissioned Black Jack carbon-in-leach processing plant, located near the north Queensland town of Charters Towers.
Following recent upgrades, the Black Jack plant has the capacity to process up to 340,000 tonnes per annum of ore.
The companies’ current deal allows Laneway to process up to 100,000t of high-grade ore at the plant. By utilising this existing facility, the company believes it was able to significantly reduce capital expenditure and time to first gold production.
Severe weather setbacks
The Black Jack plant was lucky to get away unscathed following the recent severe weather and flooding affecting Townsville and other regions in Queensland’s north.
However, it was shut down due to limited road access from Charters Towers and as a result, the company was unable to commence mining as soon as the mining lease was granted on 1 March.
Last week, Laneway said the necessary repairs to the access roads were complete with some minor upgrading of the initial dirt sections of the haul route undergoing final approvals.
Recent drilling success
In January, Laneway returned significant high-grade gold assay results from a recent drilling campaign, with several intersections exceeding 100 grams per tonne of gold and grades as high as 564g/t gold.
The company is currently incorporating these results into the existing resource model at Agate Creek with final ore block definition to establish key mining areas near completion.
According to Laneway, material positive cash flow is anticipated from Agate Creek’s mining activities, which would benefit from the current high prices of Australian dollar-denominated gold.
In addition to further exploration of the broader Agate Creek project area, the company plans to use this cash flow to progress its Ashford coking coal project and other gold assets in New Zealand.