Resolute Mining Limited’s (ASX:RSG) repairs to the sulphide roaster at Syama Gold Mine in Mali are progressing on schedule and within budget with the unit expected to be fully operational in early to mid-December.

Despite the repairs and the roaster being out of action for most of October, the company poured 42,365 ounces during the month, which was on budget.

Resolute remains on target to meet its FY2019 production guidance of 400,000 ounces of gold at an All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) of US$1,020 per ounce.

Offset by oxide material

Lost production from the sulphide circuit has been offset by processing stockpiled transitional oxide material through the Syama sulphide circuit carbon in leach infrastructure.

Automated underground mining activity at Syama continues to ramp-up successfully.

With the roaster offline, the mining team has been able to prioritise drill stocks, drawpoint development, and focus on automation optimisation while also achieving further acceleration in mine production.

Underground ore being accumulated

The roaster downtime is expected to provide the opportunity to accumulate more than 300,000 tonnes of available underground ore on the run-of-mine pad.

This stockpile provides confidence that the Syama Underground Mine will be able to achieve annual nameplate capacity of 2.4 million tonnes on a consistent and ongoing basis from January 2020 onwards.

Managing director and CEO John Welborn confirmed that the successful repair of the Syama roaster and the ramp-up of the Syama Underground Mine remained primary objectives.

“The roaster downtime is affecting what would otherwise be a highly productive period for Resolute as we ramp-up the Syama Underground Mine,” he said.

“Committed to delivering”

“Despite this setback we have poured more than 42,000 ounces of gold in October, an annualised production run rate of more than 500,000 ounces.

“We are working hard to repair the Syama roaster and are committed to delivering on our ambitions at Syama by delivering stable long-life low-cost production from the Syama Underground Mine.”

Guidance maintained

This additional Syama production, along with strong contributions from Tabakoroni Open Pit Mine, Mako Gold Mine and Ravenswood Gold Mine, has allowed Resolute to maintain group production guidance.

The roaster is a key component of the Syama sulphide processing circuit and was taken offline in early October due to the detection of a crack in the main external shell.

Repairs are being managed using an Integrated Project Schedule which includes design, engineering, manning, procurement, planning, and execution.

This methodology was developed in collaboration with Outotec, the original designer of the Syama roaster.

Location of area to be repaired and depiction of repair method of the roaster.

Planning, procurement, contracting and engineering design work is largely complete and the repair work is well underway with good progress made in installation of the secondary steel shell to the defective area where the crack occurred.

Repairs within budget

A detailed inspection of the main roaster chamber and structural assessment of the structural shell and related infrastructure has been completed by Resolute’s technical team.

Resolute is confident in the long-term structural integrity and operational capacity of the roaster, the associated infrastructure and production handling systems.

Scheduled maintenance work has been advanced and included in the repair schedule where possible.

Resolute has confirmed the initial estimate of the total cost of the roaster repairs at US$5 million and is confident of completing the required repairs within this budget.