Gold closer to being dug up

Bendigo gold. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Bendigo gold. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The company behind the Central Otago gold find hailed as New Zealand’s most significant in four decades has moved a step closer to digging it up.

In a report released yesterday that summarised the latest metallurgical test work results from the Rise and Shine deposit in Bendigo, Santana Minerals said all signs pointed to the open pit mine following a "simple and conventional gold processing flow sheet" with "moderate to low operating costs and strong gold recoveries".

Santana Minerals chief executive Damian Spring said the results only confirmed in a greater level of detail the work the company had already performed in assessing the site’s viability.

"We last published something in October last year, Phase 5 met-work, that sort of indicated using that methodology that we could leach about 90% of the gold.

"This strongly points to recoveries north of that with a combined gravity and carbon and leach process, which is fairly common and standard and simple in terms of the gold mining industry."

The work was "just one more step" on the path to unearthing exactly what the project would look like.

The company expected to reveal even more detail when the pre-feasibility study was released in full towards the middle of the year.

When asked whether it would consider applying for fast-track approval under the government’s proposed Fast-track Approvals Bill, Mr Spring said it would watch the progress of the Bill through parliament, but its "work programme hasn’t changed".

"We were always intending to apply for resource consents later this year. We expect any fast-tracking to require the same standards of application and that’s what we’re working to."

The company would continue to keep the public informed as it became more certain on particular aspects of the project, he said.

The test work was completed by the Perth-based firm Independent Metallurgical Operations Pty Ltd and overseen by MACA Interquip, another Perth-based company.