Harmony Gold aiming to extend lease for PNG Hidden Valley Mine

THE key focus for Harmony Gold in 2021 will be to safely mine the current cutback to produce between 172,300 and 177,700 ounces, while commencing the next planned pushback of the main Hidden Valley pit.

The developer said, in its 2020 operational report, that: “Our aim is to obtain a renewal of the mining lease to support a proposed mine life extension beyond the current plan.

“In 2020, Hidden Valley’s safety and injury frequency rates are industry leading and the operation achieved a fourth consecutive year of zero fatalities and recorded more than two million fatality-free shifts.

“This is testament to the culture of zero harm, safety coaching and leadership, as well as the use of critical control management that has been embedded operationally to drive safety.”

However, its gold production declined by 22 per cent to 4,872kg and generated operating free cash flow of K871 million, making it the group’s second largest contributor to operating free cash flow this year.

“Hidden Valley achieved an all-in sustaining unit cost of R562648kg (average gold price received), due to lower gold production in 2020 as a result of lower mined grade as the mine transitioned between various stages of the open pit,” it said.

“Higher inventory adjustments and additional costs due to the Covid-19 controls, offset by reduced operating and sustaining capital expenditure year on year.

“Despite the challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and the 14-day mill stoppage in January, caused by a fault in the mill’s electronic management system, Hidden Valley was able to increase the volume milled by 0.5 per cent to 3.9Mt (tonnes), although the recovered grade declined to 1.25g/t (grades), resulting in lower gold production.

“In addition to a planned mine life of four years, a prefeasibility study for the life-of-mine extension has been completed which considers a two to three-year mine life extension and annual gold production of approximately 190,000oz.

“This study has now progressed to feasibility stage, with study work expected to be completed during 2021.” 

TheNational/ Pacific Mining Watch

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