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Classic shifts to production with gold concentrate at Kat Gap

Classic Minerals CEO Dean Goodwin (right) observes the Butchart table in operation. Credit: File.

ASX-listed Classic Minerals has ticked off another key milestone for its Kat Gap gold mine near the Western Australian town of Southern Cross, after using its Butchart table separator to produce gold concentrate that will now be processed into gold dore.

Management says smelting its concentrate will generate revenue that will fund stage-one mining at the Kat Gap pit, in addition to targeted exploration in an effort to build more ounces.

Following Classic’s recent commissioning of its plant, the first parcel of ore was processed through the trommel, spinners and jigs before arriving at the Butchart table, which produces the gold concentrate.

With its operational capacity now up and running, the company is looking to further tap into the area’s prospective riches by bringing on additional work at its Lady Ada and Magdalene deposits, which make up part of its Forrestania gold project. The two deposits currently offer a combined resource of 311,000 ounces of gold.

Once in full swing, Classic plans to undertake concentrate cleaning using its Butchart table. with a capacity of 100kg/h.

The company’s latest encouraging news comes after it installed its 2-megawatt (MW) power plant just last month. It says the plant has been specifically designed to allow for expansion in the years ahead as its operational power requirements ramp up in tandem with the development of Kat Gap.

Management says its Gekko processing plant will be able to handle 100,000 tonnes of throughput per year in its first-stage design and believes its new power plant will be capable of handling the required supply. The Gekko plant is gravity-based and Classic expects it to provide a 73 per cent recovery of the precious yellow metal from ore.

More than 95 per cent of liberated gold will be freed through a simple process at a crush size of less than 2mm, handling 100 tonnes of ore per hour at maximum capacity. The remaining gold not captured in first-pass processing will be captured as tailings and reprocessed through a standard cyanide-leach operation down the line as the project evolves.

Kat Gap boasts more than 1 million tonnes of ore at 2.19 grams per tonne gold for a total of 80,367 ounces, including more than 20,000 ounces in the indicated category. It sits just 120km south of historic WA gold mining stopover Southern Cross and 50km south of Classic’s 80 per cent-owned Forrestania project. The operation is a shallow, previously unmined gold deposit that was first uncovered in the 1990s when the now-defunct Sons of Gwalia completed a resource estimate and scoping study at the site.

The price of gold rose yesterday to a more than one-month high, bolstered by a softer United States dollar and lower US Treasury yields. It came with investors appearing to be punting on the fact that recent economic data out of the US has made a persuasive case for a pause in the Fed’s interest rate hikes.

Gold is currently sitting at about US$1980 (AU$2617) an ounce – a 16 per cent growth in the past year. And with the price of gold presumably still heading north, it is an opportune time for Classic to join the ranks of producers and take some of its precious yellow metal to market.

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