With a maiden reserve imminent, gold miner Empire Resources (ASX: ERL) has kicked-off its fourth toll treatment campaign for its 60%-owned Penny’s Find ore at the nearby Lakewood Mill.
During the fourth treatment campaign around 28,000 tonnes of high grade Penny’s Find gold mineralisation will be processed through Lakewood.
A final summary on gold recovered and grade will be published in May once the Perth Mint and mill reconciliations have been finalised.
Third toll treatment results
Empire’s cash reserves were topped up in the last treatment campaign which produced 4,906 ounces of gold which was sold for A$1,690/oz and higher.
Under the third processing campaign 26,057t of Penny’s Find ore was fed through Lakewood to produce an average gold grade of 6.55 grams per tonne, with some gold grades hitting 10g/t.
Grades and gold recoveries have steadily risen with each toll treatment campaign as mining activities proceed into the higher-grade part of the pit.
Gold sales attributable to the joint venture during the third campaign exceeded A$8.5 million.
Underground reserve imminent
As mining of Penny’s Find open pit advances towards completion, Empire has a feasibility study underway into progressing the operation underground.
Late last year, Empire published an updated underground resource for Penny’s Find of 248,000t grading 7.04g/t gold for 56,000oz.
The resource sits directly under the open pit and extends 250m below ground with mineralisation remaining open at depth.
As part of the feasibility study, a first underground reserve is expected to be announced shortly.
“We believe there is substantial upside at Penny’s Find once a feasibility study into development of the underground resource has been completed,” Empire managing director David Sargeant said.
He added with mineralisation remaining open at depth, the was further upside for the mine’s future.
Empire is initially aiming for a 10-year underground operation at Penny’s Find.
The project is operated via a joint venture between Empire (60%) and Brimstone Resources (40%).
Shares in Empire were steady at A$0.014 in late morning trade.