THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Orinoco Gold (ASX: OGX) has run the first batches of production material through the plant at the company’s 70 per cent-owned Cascavel gold mine in central Brazil with initial grade estimates indicating an average feed grade of 15 to 17 grams per tonne gold.
Orinoco said it had introduced the first-ever batches of production material, totalling approximately 105 tonnes, to the plant over the past two weeks with the circuit coping well with the material.
While it awaits final metallurgical balances, Orinoco said the initial runs had the gravity circuit performing satisfactorily when processing the different rock type and higher grade of the production material compared to the softer, lower grade development material that has previously been run through the plant.
The company expects to make some further small adjustments to parts of the circuit as a result of optimisation opportunities identified during the first run of production material.
Orinoco signalled its intention to ramp-up production at Cascavel with the plant continuing to treat a combination of production material along with development material.
With the commissioning of the plant now complete, following the successful introduction of high-grade production material to the processing circuit, Orinoco considers the project to be transitioning smoothly into a production ramp-up phase.
“We are very pleased with what we have seen to date,” Orinoco Gold managing director Mark Papendieck said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The plant is performing well with high-grade production ore and, clearly, if we can continue to put similar material through the plant on a relatively consistent basis, Cascavel will be one of the highest grade gold mines to come on-line anywhere in the world in recent times.
“However, we continue to caution that because of the nature of the mineralisation, there will be variability in the production grade as we progress through the different stopes.
“Although a modest beginning with regards to size of production, the Cascavel system is certainly capable of delivering substantially more material than our current mine design limit of around 150 tonnes per day.
“We are now working hard on hitting our initial nameplate tonnage at Cascavel and continuing to demonstrate the system’s potential for growth, through both drilling and the work that is underway at Cuca, a parallel gold lode sitting beneath Cascavel.”