Retrenchment imminent as Troy Resources announces pause on operations at Karouni
- secures more land to pursue gold mining
By Kurt Campbell
The Australian mining company, Troy Resources, has announced plans to temporarily cease operations at its main site at Karouni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), as it pursues plans for additional lands it was able to secure to start a large-scale gold mine.
The company is temporarily closing the Hicks 4 pit which has been the primary source of ore delivered to the mill over the last 15 months. In recent months, a modest contribution has also come from the Spearpoint open cut.
The cutback comes amid a transition from open-pit mining to underground mining.
The company said with ore from Hicks 4 and Spearpoint due to be exhausted by late June or early July 2021, there will be no mill feed available for a period for the Karouni mill from Troy-owned operations.
The plan to temporarily cease operations at Karouni was considered because the timing of the first ore from the new Smarts Underground is not likely until later in 2021 and with only a month’s additional contribution expected from its Goldstar pit.
The News Room reached out to Troy on Wednesday for clarification. In a written response, the company’s Managing Director, Ken Nilsson, said the announcements are meant to update the market and not to advise that a shutdown is imminent and that Troy Resources has shifted some of its focus to a new area.
He confirmed that the move will no doubt affect employment with an unknown number of persons facing likely retrenchment.
“Naturally, the need for goods and services will gradually diminish during this time until operations resume and get back to full capacity.
“When persons have to be stood down it will be a gradual process… but a fixed number is difficult to predict at this time,” the Managing Director clarified.
On the resumption of operations to full capacity, the Managing Director has promised that existing employees, who will be kept for the proposed maintenance activities, and those persons, who would be laid off, will be considered first for re-staffing, the Managing Director said.
Nilsson explained that there is currently no fixed date as to how long the cessation will last. He said it is a normal scenario in the life of any mine.
“Initially it was hoped that we could have a seamless transfer from open pit to underground mining with minimal impact on the overall operation except for the open-pit mining operations,” he said.
Troy Resources is exploring the availability of third-party ore for toll treating or other opportunities.
That being the situation, the Australian company anticipates that ore processing activities will cease at Karouni in August or September 2021. At that time, the Karouni mill will be put on care and maintenance.
Meanwhile, the company, in a statement posted to its website earlier this week, said the new plots of land are adjacent to its Karouni project, which it owns 100 per cent.
These tenements see the company’s landholding at Karouni increase to an area of approximately 3,000 hectares. Significantly, the company has secured a package of tenements over an area referred to as the Potaro target.
“In the Potaro acquisition, like in all other areas, tenements are acquired from several different tenement holders and were done in keeping with all regulatory requirements,” Nilsson said.
Located approximately 20 kilometres to the south of the Karouni Mill, Potaro was identified by Troy Resources as a must-have target approximately two years ago.
The Potaro target is considered highly prospective for gold. The Potaro River and local tributaries have been heavily mined for alluvial gold.
Gold production for the month of April was 2,140 ounces. The production forecast for the months of May and June are 2,400 and 1,909 ounces, respectively.
Taking into account actual production for the month of March of 2,570 ounces, Troy is on track to slightly better the forecast set out in its 15 March 2021 announcement that production to the end of June 2021 would exceed an average of 2,200 ounces per month.