Focus Minerals hones in on gold production restart at Coolgardie Operation, WA

Gold explorer Focus Minerals (ASX:FML) is restarting production at its Coolgardie Gold Operation in Western Australia, with open-pit mining and the commissioning of the Three Mile Hill processing facility underway.

Under an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract, the $54.44 million market capitalisation company reports MACA Interquip has achieved practical completion of the refurbishments at Three Mile Hill. All testing required by the contract has been carried out and passed to reach practical completion.

Focus says the commissioning of the facility by its processing team is now underway in consultation with MACA Interquip, while the commissioning of the crushing circuit began in early July, with other circuits now ready to follow. MACA Interquip’s construction workforce has largely been demobilised, as the remaining activities consist of fixing minor defects.

The company expects the commissioning of Three Mile Hill to deliver a designed production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum within the next few months, while first gold production is targeted for this quarter.

Focus shares have climbed 13.16% to $0.22 as of 2:15pm AEST.

Further, Focus reports mains power supply from the Western Power network has been re-established, and process water supply is guaranteed from an upgraded bore field. The tailings storage facility at the processing facility has also been approved, with an initial storage capacity of 18 months.

The company says the plant has been refurbished to a standard to comply with all statutory requirements and to deliver ‘industry standard’ utilisation for the current life-of-mine (LOM).

Elsewhere, Focus reports Ozland Mining Services has been selected as its open-pit mining contractor for a 3-year period at Coolgardie following the completion of a full tender process.

Under this contract, Ozland will operate a mixed mining fleet incorporating Focus-owned dump trucks with Ozland’s excavating and drilling equipment. Mining at the Greenfields Open-Pit began in July, with waste stripping for a cutback of the north and south pit walls.

Commenting on the restart of production at Coolgardie, Focus Minerals Executive Chairman Wanghong Yang says: “Focus is very pleased to announce the resumption of mining activities and the commissioning of the refurbished TMH plant at the Coolgardie Gold Operation.

This achievement has resulted from diligent planning and the good work of our team together with our contracting partners on the pathway to production.

Special recognition must be given to the MACA Interquip team who have worked collaboratively with us and have successfully delivered an outstanding refurbished plant on schedule. Commissioning of the plant will now proceed toward full capacity in the following months.

Commissioning of the plant will now proceed toward full capacity in the following months”

Mining commencement of the Greenfields Open Pit earlier this month is also a significant milestone achieved with our open-pit mining contractor Ozland Mining Services. Working closely with Focus, Ozland has delivered a professional and rapid commencement to mining activities backed up by robust management systems and support.”

Focus Minerals is a Perth-based explorer focused on its portfolio of gold projects in Western Australia. These assets include the Coolgardie Gold Operation and the Laverton Gold Project. Coolgardie consists of a 138km-square tenement holding that includes a 1.2 million tonnes per annum processing plant at Three Mile Hill.

The company had $4.189 million cash at hand and $47.676 million in undrawn finance facilities on 31 March 2023, according to its latest quarterly report published on 28 April 2023.

Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au

Images: Focus Minerals Ltd
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.