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Capricorn, Karlawinda gold project

The Karlawinda gold project in Western Australia. Image: Capricorn Metals

Capricorn Metals has poured first gold at its Karlawinda project in Western Australia as the company continues to optimise its processes.

The first gold bars weighed 12 kilograms (386 ounces) and were the first of a 12-year mine life at over 110,000 ounces per annum for Karlawinda.

Capricorn executive chairman Mark Clark said the first pour was a great reward for years of hard work at the gold project.

“First gold production at Karlawinda is a great credit to Capricorn’s construction and operations teams, who with our key contractors, have worked tirelessly to deliver this product,” Clark said.

“We will now focus our efforts on ramping up the project to full operations as efficiently as possible.”

The ramp up processes involve the crushing circuit, processing and plant services areas.

Ball mill optimisation continued as the crushing circuit ran in excess of 1000 tonnes per hour at 70 per cent availability, for parts of the six-day start-up of operations.

Karlawinda’s 7.5-megawatt ball mill operated at around 91 per cent availability of the same period, as testing, inspections and alignments were completed in June.

Clark said in June that profitability was next on Capricorn’s agenda as it continued to ramp up.

“It is the culmination of a huge effort from our construction team and key contractors,” he said.

“We now look forward to transitioning to full steady state operations and turning the project in to a profitable, long-life business.”

In August last year, Capricorn awarded mining contractor MACA a five-year contract for open pit mining services at Karlawinda.

  • The open pit services include drill and blast, and load and haul activities, with around 11 million bank cubic metres of ore and waste to be moved a year using a fleet of 180-tonne dump trucks.