Canada’s K92 Mining Inc. (TSX-V: KNT; OTCQX: KNTNF) is confident it is ready to move to the next level as a gold producer after achieving significant upgrades to pleased to operations and Stage 2 expansion at its producing underground Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea.
Chief Executive Officer and Director, John Lewins, said Kainantu has recently undergone a significant expansion and modernisation of the mining fleet.
The fleet expansion includes not only an increase in the quantity of equipment but also a significant increase in equipment size. In late-2019, Kainantu received its latest major equipment delivery including:
- Sandvik LH517i UG LHD loader on site and operational
- Sandvik DL421-15C long hole production drill rig on site and commissioning
- Sandvik DD422i Platinum twin boom development (Autodrill capable) jumbo on site and commissioning
- Minecat integrated emulsion charging unit on site and commissioning
Mr Lewins said the arrival of the Sandvik long hole production drill is of particular importance as it marks the beginning of implementing lower-cost, high-productivity long hole stoping.
He said the Kora and Kora North deposit is especially amenable to this mining method given its sub-vertical orientation, strike lengths and thickness.
Cut and fill has been the mining method at Kainantu since it restarted in October 2016 and will continue to be implemented as well. Long hole drilling will focus on Kora North’s K2 Vein, and the potential for long-holing other veins is an opportunity that is being assessed.
The late-2019 equipment arrivals, are in addition to the other equipment arrivals in 2019.
In addition, Kainantu’s underground mine infrastructure was considerably upgraded and expanded in 2019, with several key projects completed.
Mr Lewins said there are several additional projects underway including:
- Construction of equipment maintenance workshop and office at portal, with completion of office expected in Q1 2020 and completion of workshop expected in Q3 2020.
- New high-tech underground communications system including wifi, personnel tracking, advanced remote equipment communications and real-time safety tracking system. Completion expected in Q1 2020.
Kainantu Twin Incline
Early earthworks for the two, three-km twin inclines have commenced with incline development expected to commence in Q1 2020. The design for the twin incline could handle production of up to two million tonnes per annum.
Completion of the plant expansion is in the final stages, with commissioning expected to begin in February 2019. The gravity circuit and gold room was installed in Q3 2019 and the new secondary crusher was installed in December 2019. The focus is on the installation of the flotation tanks, with foundations and tanks installed and piping and electrical installations underway.
“The company is moving forward rapidly with the Kora Expansion Project expected to significantly increase throughput, achieving 400,000 tpa annualised process plant run-rate by the end of 2020,” Mr Lewins said.
“In Q4 2019, Kainantu achieved record material movement rates of 120,000 tonne, an increase from under 60,000 in Q1 2019; and is being further bolstered by multiple positive developments including ongoing expansion to the mining fleet; the commencement of higher productivity long hole stoping in Q1 2020, and; the completion of key infrastructure projects in the second half of 2019.
“The completion of the incline debottlenecking program and the ventilation upgrade, in particular, has had an immediate positive impact on equipment efficiencies and cycle times.
“We are also very excited to have commenced the development of our twin incline. The incline is being designed for throughputs of up to two million tonnes per annum.
“This is materially greater than the Stage 2 Expansion throughput of 400,000 tpa, and the decision was based on our view that the mine has further expansion potential as indicated from our exploration results to date.
“It is important to highlight that the combination of above-budget production and below-budget cash costs has enabled the Company to fund the expansion as well near-mine and regional exploration from operational cash flow.
“While 2019 was very much a transformational year for K92, we expect 2020 to build on this and enable our company to move towards the next level.”