ASX-listed Resolute Mining said that the repair programme for the sulphide roaster at the company’s Syama Gold Mine in Mali is progressing to schedule and within budget.

The roaster is a key component of the Syama sulphide processing circuit and was taken offline in early October due to the detection of a crack in the main external shell.

The company expects the roaster will be fully operational in early to mid-December. The Syama roaster repairs are being managed using an integrated project schedule which includes design, engineering, manning, procurement, planning, and execution.

The repair methodology, it explained, was developed in collaboration with Outotec, the original designer of the Syama roaster.

“Planning, procurement, contracting, and engineering design work is largely complete. The repair work is well underway with good progress being made in the installation of the secondary steel shell to the defective area where the crack occurred,” director and CEO, John Welborn, said.

As advised in the company’s September Quarterly Activities Report, a detailed inspection of the main roaster chamber and structural assessment of the structural shell and related infrastructure has been completed by Resolute’s technical team..

“Resolute is confident in the long-term structural integrity and operational capacity of the roaster, the associated infrastructure and production handling systems. Scheduled maintenance work has been advanced and included in the repair schedule where possible,” Welborn said.

Resolute has confirmed the initial estimate of the total cost of the roaster repairs at US$5 million. The company is confident of completing the required repairs within this budget.

It said that automated underground mining activity at Syama has continued to ramp-up successfully.

“With the Syama roaster offline, the mining team have been able to prioritise drill stocks, drawpoint development, and focus on automation optimisation while also achieving further acceleration in mine production. The roaster downtime is expected to provide the opportunity to accumulate more than 300,000 tonnes of available underground ore on the run-of-mine pad.

This significant stockpile of ore provides confidence that the Syama underground mine will be able to achieve nameplate capacity of 2.4 million tonnes per annum on a consistent and ongoing basis from January 2020 onwards,” said Welborn. 

In addition to the focus on the roaster repair schedule and the underground ramp-up, the company explained that the Syama operating team have been successful in offsetting lost production from the sulphide circuit by processing stockpiled transitional oxide material through the Syama sulphide circuit carbon in leach infrastructure.

This additional production, along with strong contributions from the Tabakoroni open-pit mine, the Mako Gold Mine, and the Ravenswood Gold Mine has allowed the company to maintain group production guidance for FY19.

In October, Resolute poured 42 365 ounces of gold despite the Syama roaster being out of operation for most of the month.

Welborn, confirmed the successful repair of the Syama roaster, and the ramp-up of the Syama underground mine, remained primary objectives: “The roaster downtime is affecting what would otherwise be a highly productive period for Resolute as we ramp-up the Syama underground mine

He added that despite this setback, Resolute has poured more than 42 000 ounces of gold in October, an annualised production run rate of more than 500 000 ounces. “We are working hard to repair the Syama roaster and are committed to delivering on our ambitions at Syama by delivering stable long-life low-cost production from the Syama underground mine.”

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