Underground miners living in the district and travelling long distances to work may choose to be part of a new team at Tomingley Gold Operations (TGO).
Alkane Resources’ board of directors has approved the transition from open cut to underground mining operations at TGO, requiring the recruitment of up to 30 underground miners.
Managing director Nic Earner reports of “a lot of people” living in communities such as Dubbo, Narromine and Parkes and working as underground miners in places such as Nyngan and Cobar.
“We are a district with a pretty deep pedigree in underground mining,” he said. “But we don’t really know who will potentially want to make a change.”
Mr Earner said Alkane Resources would prefer to recruit underground miners already living in the district than FIFO (Fly-In Fly-Out) workers.
“It’s better for them as individuals and less expensive for us as a company,” he said.
Development of the 40-month and $25 million underground operation is scheduled to begin in early 2019 with the “first ore” to be brought to the surface by mid-year.
It will be stockpiled until the TGO processing plant is back in action late in 2019.
“There’s 108,000 ounces to be mined but then after you have recovery through the processing plant you end up pouring 93,000 ounces,” Mr Earner said.
“At today’s prices it would generate revenue of $153.5 million.”
Mr Earner said the company expected to find more gold underground at TGO and its exploration efforts between Tomingley and Peak Hill were designed to “find extra resources that can feed into the processing plant” and extend the life of the new venture.