Tarcoola Gold Project
WPG Resources Ltd acquired the Tarcoola Gold Project in May 2014.
The feasibility study for the development of the project was completed during September 2015 for a conventional open pit operation with associated heap leach processing.
A revised feasibility study was released in September 2016 for the processing of Tarcoola ore through the Challenger CIP treatment plant, indicating substantially enhanced economic outcomes. The ore will be hauled to Challenger for treatment, supported by substantially reduced on and off-site services and infrastructure. There will be no need for leach pads or gold recovery circuit on site, resulting in a substantially reduced environmental footprint. Treatment through the Challenger CIP plant results in estimated gold recovery of 95%.
The Tarcoola Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) was approved in November 2016. Mine development at Tarcoola commenced in November 2016 and the mine was officially opened on 13 December 2016. The first ore was delivered to Challenger for processing in January 2017 and first gold was poured in February 2017.
The location of the Tarcoola Mineral Lease (granted in March 2016) and a cross-section of the Perseverance deposit at Tarcoola are shown below.
Figure 1 – Tarcoola Mineral Lease
Figure 2 – Cross Section 6,602,800N (‘A – A’ Figure 1)
Geology & exploration
Tarcoola is an historic mining area and records indicate extraction of over 77,000 oz of gold principally from historic high grade narrow vein underground stoping operations.
Metallurgical test work conducted by the previous owners demonstrated outstanding leaching characteristics.
A metallurgical drilling program was completed at the end of November 2014 at Tarcoola.
Five PQ diamond holes (see Figure 3) for a total of 389.3 metres were drilled to collect material for the completion of metallurgical testwork. The deepest holes were just over 90 metres.
Drill Hole TAD 008 intersected 6.50m (true width) @ 8.77 g/t gold, including 1.70m @ 24.61 g/t gold.
Figure 3 – Location of metallurgical drill holes
A detailed review of the Tarcoola project regional exploration data from a total of 27 prospects/exploration targets defined by previous explorers together with regional calcrete sampling has been compiled and reviewed. Ten prospects have been recommended for follow-up exploration as a result of this study.
The tenement where the project is located (EL 5355) provides WPG with opportunity to explore a highly prospective area of approximately 1,183 square km.
Resources and Reserves
Mined materials comprise primary and oxidised gold (Au) bearing mineralised ore and non-gold bearing waste.
In addition to the Perseverance and Last Resource deposits there are many other known areas of mineralisation including the Wondergraph prospect which provide potential upside to the project.
Tarcoola Resource Estimates
The updated Tarcoola mineral resource estimate as at 30 June 2017 (see WPG’s ASX announcement dated 21 September 2017) is included in the Table below.
|Category||Tonnes (000 t)||Gold (g/t)||Gold (000 oz)|
Tarcoola Ore Reserve Estimate
The updated Tarcoola ore reserve estimate as at 30 June 2017 (see WPG’s ASX announcement dated 21 September 2017) is included in the Table below.
|Reserve Category||Type||Tonnage (000)||Gold (g/t)||Gold (000 oz)|
|Waste : Ore||2.7|
The project is a small to medium sized open pit gold mine with ore hauled to Challenger, 165km away, for the treatment of ore, supported by substantially reduced on and off-site services and infrastructure.
The project will be developed as an open pit mine with mining to be undertaken over a two year life (based on existing reserves only), building up a ROM stockpile which will be truced to Challenger over three and a half years.
The feasibility study was updated from the heap leach study to processing of the ore through the Challenger CIP plant. This CIP processing method marginally reduces ore tonnes and increases cut-off grade due to increased truck and ore processing costs and marginally decreases estimated contained gold but increases estimated recovered gold as the CIP gold recovery is expected to be significantly higher than the heap leach recovery and this will more than compensate for the reduction in ore tonnes and contained gold.
An active program of stakeholder consultation meetings including Native Title Holders (the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara People), pastoralists and South Australian Government agencies is ongoing.