Restarted Argentinian mine to yield 1.7 million silver ounces/yr

The Casposo gold-silver mine will soon be milling ore again thanks to its new part-owner, Austral Gold Limited (ASX:AGD, TSXV:AAM).

The dual-listed company paid $1 million in March to acquire a 51% stake in the project from a subsidiary of Australian junior gold producer Troy Resources (ASX,TSX:TRY). Austral also has a reciprocal purchase and sale obligation to acquire an additional 19% interest by next March, along with staged options to purchase the remaining 30% within five years.

Austral announced on Tuesday that it plans to restart the Casposo mine, which had been operated by Troy Resources, based on a new resource estimate. The mine, located in San Juan province, has two deposits, separated by about a kilometre. Troy started mining the open pit portion in 2010 and moved to underground operations in 2013, according to a project page.

According to Austral, the underground mine plan will be based on a new resource estimate released on September 7. Proven and probable mineral reserves as of June 30th totalled 972,000 tonnes at 2.53 g/t gold and 231 g/t silver, containing approximately 79,000 ounces of gold and 7.2 million ounces of silver.

The mine would produce, on average, 21,000 ounces of gold per annum and 1.7 million ounces of silver, for four years. The gold and silver doré is expected to be shipped to a refinery in Ontario, Canada for processing. Austral has reportedly made modifications to the processing plant that will increase operational efficiencies in order to maintain throughput of around 300,000 tonnes per annum.

"The Life of Mine Plan provides a very solid basis for advancing to commissioning the full operation. The Plan supports the viability of moving to small scale underground mining methods and optimisation of the process plant. The positive results put us in a position to re-commence full operations. We look forward to continuing the operation of Casposo and working with the community to the benefit of all stakeholders," Austral Gold CEO Stabro Kasaneva said in the press release.

Austral has been working on rehabilitating Casposo since April and plans to begin production by the end of the third quarter. The company's flagship is the Guanaco gold-silver mine in Chile, which produced 46,254 ounces of gold and 41,233 ounces of silver up to the end of 2015.