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WA EPA recommends approval of Gruyere gold project - Mining Weekly

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chairperson Dr Tom Hatton has recommended that Environment Minister Albert Jacob approve junior miner Gold Road Resources’ Gruyere gold project.

South Africa-based gold major Gold Fields recently entered into a joint venture with Gold Road to acquire 50% of the project, which entails a large-scale openpit mine, tailings storage facility and waste dump north-east of Laverton.

Hatton said an independent board assessed the potential impact of the Gruyere proposal according to two key environmental factors – subterranean fauna and flora and vegetation.

“In assessing this proposal, the EPA examined potential impacts to stygofauna habitat and species from the abstraction of groundwater from borefields and the direct impact of clearing 2 260 ha of flora and vegetation. The EPA concluded the proposal was able to meet the EPA’s objectives and therefore recommended approval subject to a set of conditions,” he said.

The conditions include the requirement to prepare and implement a subterranean fauna management plan to ensure groundwater abstraction is managed to protect the biodiversity and ecological integrity of subterranean fauna.

The EPA’s report to Jacob is open for a two-week public appeal period, closing December 5.

An October feasibility study indicated that Gruyere’s 3.5-million-ounce reserve could support average production of 270 000 oz/y for a 13-year life-of-mine (LoM). All-in sustaining costs over the LoM are expected to be A$945/oz, with construction capital expenditure estimated at A$507-million.

To acquire half of the project, Gold Fields will pay A$350-million in cash and a 1.5% royalty on its share of production after total mine production exceeds two-million ounces with an estimated value of A$15-million.

Gold Fields believes the Gruyere project will enhance its Australian portfolio and give it more exposure to a new gold field in Western Australia.

First production from Gruyere is expected at the end of 2018 or early 2019.


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