Emerging gold producer Orinoco Gold (ASX: OGX) has obtained all requisite approvals to operate its own onsite assay laboratory for treating gold from its flagship Cascavel gold mine in Brazil.
According to Orinoco, an onsite laboratory can shorten the turnaround time and increase the number of assays that are processed each batch. The company also claims it will reduce costs, with previous assay samples transported to a laboratory 200km away.
At the off-site laboratory, 12 samples were processed each day with an eight-day turnaround time. The new onsite laboratory can process up to 80 samples, with a three-day turnaround.
Orinoco has allocated daily laboratory capacity that allows for treating 20 mine samples, 20 plant samples and 40 from exploration.
SGS Brazil Labs will oversee Orinoco’s laboratory’s commissioning phase. However, the laboratory isn’t certified to provide resource calculations.
Despite this, Orinoco stated the laboratory will retain a high level of accuracy.
“The complex licencing for the use of controlled chemicals onsite has been granted with cooperation of the Goias Environmental Agency and the Army,” Orinoco Brazil president Dr Klaus Petersen said.
“The laboratory is certainly a key component on speeding up all of the operational controls and planning, as well as a long-desired way for the exploration projects to obtain faster, cheaper and reliable results for bulk samples,” Dr Petersen added.
He said the laboratory would have a “very positive” impact for Cascavel.
Possessing an onsite assay laboratory is part of Orinoco’s “back to basics” approach for the Cascavel project, which failed to produce economic gold when the mine was initially operated.
However, after evaluating the reasons, Orinoco’s management team decided to process the gold mined via a hammer mill.
The initial gravity circuit had been found unsuitable to processing Cascavel’s typically finer gold. It was noted that a hammer mill would be able to crush the ore into smaller particles to allow larger gold recoveries.
Since November last year, the hammer mill pilot program has paid dividends for Orinoco with the company reporting numerous high-grade gold recoveries within each processing campaign.
By late February, the average gold grade recovered was 36.17 grams per tonne with a bonanza 265g/t gold reported in mid-January.
In early morning trade, shares in Orinoco lifted 3% to A$0.10.