Hambledon Mining plc ("Hambledon" or the "Group" or the "Company"), the AIM-listed gold mining and processing company operating in Kazakhstan, is pleased to report that the replacement boiler at the processing plant at Sekisovskoye has now been installed and gold production has been resumed.
The entire elution system has been redesigned, installed and commissioned with the help of specialist boiler consultants. During the shut-down, the Company arranged for independent industrial health and safety consultants to review every aspect of the Sekisovskoye processing plant and, apart from some minor documentary issues that have now been rectified, no deficiencies were reported.
All previously experienced commissioning problems, which principally concerned peripheral crushing equipment, have been rectified and a stockpile of some 13,000 tonnes of crushed ore has been accumulated. A further stockpile of approximately 137,000 tonnes of ore remains from before the closure.
Due to a much higher than normal content of clay-like material in the ore, which tends to clog the sizing screens, the decision has been taken to crush to a slightly larger size than planned. This is a short term problem that should not continue as the mine deepens, but will result in temporarily lower throughput through the main ball-mills. The impact on operations is difficult to forecast precisely but, in the absence of any further commissioning problems, it is expected that production during the next two months will be approximately 80% of the production rate of 40,000 ounces per annum expected thereafter.
Mining operations are expected to re-start in May. At this time, the mining fleet will be augmented with an additional Atlas Copco L7 blast hole drill-rig and a Hitachi Zaxis 200 excavator fitted with a Montabert 900 rock-breaker.
The Company is continuing negotiations with its bankers for stand-by finance in case it should be needed, whilst closely monitoring its cash and funding position.
Nick Bridgen, Chief Executive of Hambledon, said:
“This has been a challenging period for the Company but all the issues have been resolved and we are now looking forward to a sustained period of operating.
“We expect to make the first gold sales very soon and look forward to updating the market on further progress.”