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Jan 2010 - The Lucky Break

The “Lucky Break”

Occasionally in underground mining, a company has a “lucky break”, unexpectedly intersecting mineralisation that completely transforms the geological understanding of the mine, the area, and its mineralisation.

It is usually more easier in an open-cut to see what the mineralisation has done based on looking at the walls or the floor, but underground it depends largely on development.

Mar 2010 - Gold Mining Costs

Gold Mining Industry Facing Rising Costs

At the recent Paydirt Gold Conference in March 2010,delegates were surprised to hear that the cash costs of Gold Fields’ (GFI’s) South African operations were US$650/oz, with total costs of US$900/oz. And in response to a second question, that costs were expected to rise by 10% just on the doubling in power costs over the next 3 years.

Mar 2010 - Epithermal Trends

Do Epithermals Usually have at Least 2 Trends?

It may be sheer coincidence but we could not help noticing a number of similarities between some epithermal deposits after visiting NQM’s Pajingo in September 2009, NCM/CAH’s (Newcrest/Catalpa’s) Cracow (also in Queensland) in January 2010, attending Paydirt’s NewGen conference in November 2009 and see Andean present Cerro Negro, followed by Exeter Resources presenting Cerro Moro.

Apr 2010 - 5g/t Rule of Thumb

Is it Time to Reduce the
/t Rule of Thumb” ?

Underground mining has a number of “rules of thumb”, one of which that has stood the test of time, is that for most mines you need 5g/t in order to mine underground. And if it is refractory add 20% so it becomes 6g/t.

At 5g/t it meant that the mine should be able to achieve a capital return and return the invested money back, allowing for the odd occasional thing to go wrong – or in other words provide a reasonable margin for error.

May 2010 - Unlimited Upside...

“Unlimited Upside, with Limited Downside...for the Australian Govt”

Or at least that’s how the proposed new RRT (Resource Rent Tax) commencing on 1 July 2012 was described in a pre-dinner talk by a representative of Deloitte’s at the Sydney Mining Club on 6 May 2010.

Jun 2010 - Paste Failures

Paste Failures Provide a “Wake-Up” Call

I must admit that when I first encountered paste being used to fill stopes instead of concreted tailings and the way it behaved, I thought “WOW this is fantastic, looks like rock, fills the void perfectly, can be cable bolted, can be mined against, etc”. So it is understandable how complacency occurred, and why failures in the past year have been met with surprise.

Aug 2010 - Floating Quartz

Current Trends Include “Floating” Quartz Rocks.

We have noticed a number of trends (being at least 3 occurrences) among the different companies that we have analysed so far this year since January 2010. Those trends mostly include cyclone upgrades, proposed ventilation shafts, possible drill drives and significantly deeper drilling, EM plates, visible gold, stamp batteries, plant upgrades and newly commissioned plants, and fields of quartz resulting from “floating” quartz rocks.

Sep 2010 - PDU Fires up...

PDU fires up the West African Golds

Any doubts anyone may have had about Burkina Faso being the current world exploration “hot-spot” were quickly dispelled by the behaviour of the West African gold shares in the week of PDU (Paydirt Down Under) in early September 2010.

Nov 2010 - Patagonian Epi's

Two Very Different Patagonian Epithermals

In late October 2010, we visited two very different epithermal deposits in the Deseado Massif of Patagonia in Southern Argentina, namely Mariana’s Las Calandrias and Extorre’s Cerro Moro.

Dec 2010 - Mega Gold Mines

The Mega Gold Mines are Coming

In the SMH of 29 November 2010, it was reported that the Kalgoorlie Super Pit was Australia’s biggest producer in the September Quarter of 2010 with 202,000oz, followed by the new Boddington mine at 180,000ozpa. Both mines producing ~800,000ozpa.