You could almost hear the voice of celebrated ABC sports announcer Norman May when Mack Horton delivered first gold for Australia on the opening day of the 2016 Rio Olympic swimming program.
The first gold means a lot and we were cheering hard because we knew the feeling.
We had just poured our first gold and May’s famous call of “Gold, gold, gold for Australia” from the 1980 Moscow games was ringing in our ears.
Our first gold pour at the start of August feels like we had won an Olympic gold medal. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work since we began drilling at our Cascavel project in Brazil in late 2012.
Back then, we knew that Cascavel (then known as Curral de Pedra) was highly prospective for high-grade gold. The project is on the Faina greenstone belt in a region that has yielded significant gold production in the past. Cascavel is only 18km as the crow flies from the Sertão gold mine at which Troy Resources produced 247,000 ounces of gold from a shallow open pit between 2003 and 2007 at the exceptional grade of 29 grams a tonne.
Over the past four years we’ve focused on defining a small-scale, low-cost development and proving up the extensions to the Cascavel mineralisation, including the additional gold lodes that sit beneath the main lode.
This year we’ve built a gravity processing plant and started to stockpile low-grade development material to use in commissioning the plant. That processing started in July.
Late in July we put gold concentrate derived from this low-grade material through the plant. Then on 1 August we did a trial gold pour designed to commission the gold furnace and test fluxing requirements for smelting.
From that pour came our first bar of gold bullion.
The Cascavel plant is now running 24 hours a day while continuing to process stockpiles of low-grade development material. Over the coming weeks, the plant will process high-grade parcels of ore from actual production stopes as we start to build toward officially beginning production.
Once production at Cascavel hits the initial mine design of 40,000 tonnes a year (in the next month or two) we will already be thinking about an expansion of the mine well beyond its initial design capacity – after all, we have built a processing plant that capable of processing over 100,000 tonnes per annum and we would like nothing better than to fill it up!
The maiden pour was a great moment for us as it marked the start of our transition from explorer into commercial gold miner. Producing first gold vindicates the faith and commitment that our shareholders, investors, financiers and supporters have placed in us over a number of years.
And to achieve that milestone in the month when our adopted home was hosting the Olympics for the first time made it very special.
It’s gold for Australia in Brazil!