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Catalyst Metals has revealed that dewatering at its Plutonic East deposit is progressing faster than anticipated, thanks to an improved balance sheet.

In February 2023, it was announced that Catalyst would merge with Superior Gold via a Canadian plan of arrangement. As a result, the company took over ownership of the Plutonic gold mine, located about 300km northeast of Meekatharra in Western Australia, in June 2023.

A month prior, it was announced that Catalyst would acquire Vango Mining for $66 million. The acquisition was completed in March 2023.

Both acquisitions allowed Catalyst to consolidate the Plutonic gold belt. When the acquisitions took place, the Plutonic gold mine was the only operating mine on the belt.

Within the first 12 months of owning the Plutonic operations, Catalyst installed a new management team and reinvested cashflows into advancing the Plutonic gold belt’s development.

The company also managed to lower cut-off grades from 2.7 grams per tonne (g/t) to 2.0g/t, allowing Catalyst to better understand the Plutonic gold belt and two development projects it has in the area: Plutonic East and Trident.

In April 2024, the company commenced dewatering at Plutonic East. The initial pit lake and underground dewatering activities are expected to continue until the first quarter of the 2024–25 financial year (Q1 FY25), with rehabilitation of the decline at Plutonic East also commencing in Q1 FY25.

With these works being undertaken, Catalyst said the start-up capital costs for Plutonic East will be lower than anticipated.

“The Catalyst operating team has done an exceptional job in stabilising operations and lifting production at Plutonic,” Catalyst managing director and chief executive officer James Champion de Crespigny said. “This has led to a strengthening of Catalyst’s balance sheet.

“Our focus now turns to the organic growth strategy of developing the existing resources across the belt. As Catalyst better understands the belt, we’re seeing the capital costs for developments fall. These lower capital costs, and our improving balance sheet, are encouraging signs.”