Harmony Gold Mining’s planned shutdown at its Hidden Valley mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been completed two weeks ahead of schedule and processing of ore recommenced mid November, according to the miner.

At the 2017 Mining and Petroleum Conference and Trade Fair in Papua New Guinea, the General Manager at Hidden Valley, Gary Davies, noted that processing operations at the mine started on 15 November 2017, following the planned four-month plant shutdown.

The company said more than 65% of the planned initial capital investment in the stage 5 and 6 cutback has been incurred to date and the project is progressing ahead of schedule and on budget, all whilst maintaining the highest safety standards.

“Mining at the Stage 5 cutback is a month ahead of schedule and on budget, with an annualised mining rate of 28 million tonnes per annum achieved in October 2017.

“It is expected that commercial levels of production will be achieved in the June quarter 2018, as per plan.”

Davies highlighted at the conference that safety at the mine is industry leading, with a lost-time injury rate during the past twelve months of 0.2 per million hours worked and the last lost-time injury recorded in April 2017.

“The Hidden Valley team showcases responsible mining – communities benefit, employees benefit and the mine is well on track to deliver annual steady state gold production of 180 000oz at an all-in sustaining cost of less than US$950/oz during FY19”, said Peter Steenkamp, chief executive officer of Harmony.

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