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Laverton Gold Project, Australia

 
Laverton_Gold_Project

Focus Minerals acquired the Laverton Gold Project in 2011. Image courtesy of Focus Minerals Pty Ltd.

The Laverton Gold Project is located around 250km northeast of Kalgoorlie in the Laverton district of Western Australia. The mine covers an area of 1,200km2 surrounding the town of Laverton.

The gold project is owned 81.57% by the Australian gold producer Focus Minerals, which is also operating three mines in Coolgardie region of Western Australia.

The Laverton Gold Project consists of several open pit operations at the site.

Gold production at Laverton under Focus Minerals' ownership started in the last quarter of 2011. The mine is currently producing around 100,000 ounces (oz) of gold a year.

The ongoing drilling and exploration at the Laverton gold mine suggest significant resource expansion with potential mine life extension.

Laverton_produced_100548oz

Laverton produced 100,548oz of gold in 2012. Image courtesy of Focus Minerals Pty Ltd.

"The Laverton Gold Project consists of several open pit operations at the site."

"The mine is currently producing around 100,000 ounces (oz) of gold a year."
 
Laverton gold project history
Laverton gold project history

The ongoing exploration and drilling indicate significant resource expansion at Laverton. Image courtesy of Focus Minerals Pty Ltd.

Laverton gold mine was originally owned by Sons of Gwalia ,who sold the mine to Focus Technologies in July 2002. Focus Technologies was renamed twice before it came to be known as Crescent Gold in June 2004.
The Laverton mining operation was ceased on several occasions because of plant upgrades and operational reviews. Crescent incurred a loss of $28.8m on Laverton operation in 2007-'08. The JORC-compliant resource of Laverton project was, however, upgraded from 0.67 million ounces (moz) in 2003 to 1.53moz in 2008.

In February 2009, Crescent entered into an agreement with Barrick Gold for processing Laverton ore at the latter's Granny Smith Gold processing facility, while Crescent's Barnicoat processing facility was put under care and maintenance.

Mining recommenced at Laverton in August 2009 and Barrick processed the first Laverton ore in October of the same year.

Finally, Focus Minerals purchased majority interest in the Laverton Gold Project with its acquisition of Crescent Gold (now known as Focus Laverton) in an off-market takeover in August 2011. Focus Minerals also offered an unconditional off-market bid to purchase the remaining interest in the mine in March 2013.

Laverton Greenstone Belt geology

Laverton Gold project is situated on the Laverton Greenstone Belt (LGB) in the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia. The LBG, which bears rich content of gold, is believed to be more than 2,500m years old.
The LBG hosts other gold mines including Granny Smith, Sunrise Dam and Wallaby. Gold production from the belt is estimated to be in excess of 28moz.

Laverton gold mine reserves

The gold reserves at the Laverton Gold Project as of March 2012 were estimated to be 381,000oz grading at 2.1g/t Au. The total resources of the project stood at 2moz grading at 2.4g/t Au.

Gold production from Laverton project

Gold production from the Laverton operations during the calendar year 2012 totalled 100,548oz at a at a grade of 1.79g/t to 1.93 g/t and cash cost of $1,271/oz.

Mining and processing of ore at Laverton

The Laverton mining operation mainly consists of three open pits: Fish, Apollo and Burtville. Mining activities were concentrated at the Apollo pit during 2012. The mining focus was, however, shifted to Burtville by the beginning of 2013. Mineral resource at Burtville is estimated to be 235,000oz grading at 1.3g/t. The pit contains ore with a lower strip ratio than that of Apollo.

The open-pit mining at Laverton is carried out using drill and blast method. Ore is removed from the pit through load and haul.

Mining and Civil Australia (MACA), a mining services provider, was awarded a contract worth $45m in November 2012 to carry out drilling and blasting at the mine, along with load and haul services till May 2014.

The Laverton ore is sent to the Granny Smith processing plant located 20km away from the mine as part of the ore purchase agreement with Barrick Gold.

Exploration and resource development

The Laverton Gold project offers significant potential for extending existing mines and exploring new discoveries.
In early 2013, a $2.3m development drilling programme towards the east of Burtville started aimed at upgrading the resource and defining the reserve at Burtville.

The Rotary Air Blast (RAB) and aircore programme recently conducted at Laverton site has also identified new discoveries in Lord Byron and Mt Crawford areas.

So far, the drilling activities in the project area have been carried out at a shallow depth of up to 150m from the surface. Future exploration is planned for higher grade mineralisation at depth. An underground project, Summit underground, is currently in the feasibility stage.

 
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