A growing precious metal producer will spend more than $100 million on reviving its mineral processing mill in the Northern Territory after suspending operations for years.
Kirkland Lake Gold has approved the reopening of its Union Reefs Gold Mill in Pine Creek, 225km southeast of Darwin.
The money will pay for a mill refurbishment, an underground mining development, diamond drilling and preparing a new environmental impact survey (EIS) for a proposed expansion of the existing Union Reefs North Underground Gold Mine.
Production is already underway and about 10,000 ounces of gold will be created before the end of the year. Kirkland hopes this will achieve a much more ambitious target of 100,000 ounces in 2020 through processing ore mined from its Cosmo Gold Mine and Pine Creek Gold Mine at the same mill.
The decision to reopen came more than two years after Kirkland stopped work in mid 2017 due to low ore reserves. At the time the proponent was maintaining up to six operational rigs that worked on projects across the region.
The company employs about 400 staff and there is potential to increase the workforce to more than 450. It estimates 60 per cent of its workers are Northern Territory locals.
Kirkland is hiring a mobile fleet maintenance – service person, drill fitter, rescue medic and security officer, and senior mine accountant. These positions will require working 12 hour shifts, with a roster of either seven days on and seven days off or eight days on and six days off.
Remuneration will be offered based on an enterprise agreement. A functional capacity/medical assessment and a national crime check will be required.
“We are extremely pleased to be reopening the Union Reefs mill here in the NT with a plan for significant investment into the NT,” Kirkland Lake Gold vice president of Australian operations Ian Holland said in a public statement. “Our NT operations are only set to expand, and the EIS that is underway for Union Reefs North Underground Mine is an important part of the long term strategy.”