FUTURE EXPANSION / ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The future of the Cavanacaw property lies in the development of an underground mine. An active program of drilling has partly assessed the gold and silver resource at depth. Detailed costing studies have been carried out to estimate the cost of underground development and these studies have been released within the 2014 Resource Assessment. The report has been released and estimates a high internal rate of return. ( Report available to download in Operation Documents). The drilling program is expected to continue from cash-flow generated from underground mine production. A budget of £1million per year is budgeted within the 2014 study. Past drilling has achieved a cost of approximately GBP£10 per ounce in identified gold resource.
Plans to develop an underground mine have been approved and the mine is in development. Plans include a cut and cover adit within the backfilled Kearney open pit, with a spiral decline to the base of the Phase 1 Underground Mine and a separate access to provide emergency egress and ventilation. A third access is planned to provide emergency egress and ventilation to a linked development between Kearney and Joshua vein systems. The principal mining method will be by shrinkage-stoping / longholing and long term stability will be assured by backfilling with waste rock and clean tailing sands. Other methods may also be employed. Potentially the mine may progress to deeper levels than that planned for Phase 1 but this will be subject to the identification of resources by drilling.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), based upon new data and data from 14 years of environmental monitoring, is complete and was examined as part of the planning process for underground mining. The EIA considers the processes involved, impact on water, air and noise amongst other environmental factors and is available on the Northern Ireland Planning Portal (link and disclaimer below).
The figures below represent an early stage iteration of plans and are presented to give a generalised picture of the underground development.
Detailed drawings are available via the Planning Service, DOENI Planning Portal (a third party website). Registration is required.