Integration of a new pilot plant has started with commissioning scheduled for January 2021.
Following commissioning, the annual nameplate processing capacity at NLGM is expected to increase to a baseline of 708,000 tonnes from 620,000 currently with the projected annual processing rate increased to a baseline of 783,000 tonnes from the current processing rate of 695,000 tonnes, said Shanta CEO Erick Zurrin in a statement.
The gold miner said that it has commenced the New Luika plant upgrade through the integration of the 10 tonne per hour pilot plant which was previously purchased in 2016 for the Singida Project.
Installation of the pilot plant at Singida was abandoned following a review of the project economics and it has been in storage in South Africa since purchase.
The cost to integrate the pilot plant at NLGM is estimated at US$1.2 million and will be financed from cash flow.
Erick Zurrin- CEO Shanta Gold
The New Luika plant upgrade will focus on increased ball mill power with upgrades to other components including an increase to pumping capacity, a tailings discharge system and additional leach capacity to support the higher throughput and increase operability.
Increased plant capacity will provide New Luika with the flexibility to reduce cut off grades thus lowering the hurdle for resources to be converted to minable ounces.
The statement further said that a detailed engineering design is complete and the Company has started civil works on the mill floor and foundation.
Plant capacity expansion is expected to be completed in January 2021 with milled throughput to increase immediately thereafter.
Meanwhile, the company said exploration drilling carried out at the recently acquired west Kenya project in Kenya in which it has 100% stake continues after the company acquired seven licences covering majority of the project which extends over 1,162km2.
“Shanta has a track record of replacing mined ounces from its seven ore bodies at New Luika Gold Mine at little cost. The company is two thirds of the way through the 2020 exploration budget of $5million and so far, reserves have increased by 75,000 oz. The increase came predominantly from Luika and Back Tree Hill deposits where reserve grades were significantly higher than the inferred resource grade” Erick Zurrin, Shanta Gold CEO said.