Exact Civil Construction is running ahead of schedule in a major project to expand the tailings storage facility (TSF) at Pajingo mine as the Minjar Gold operation looks to the future.
The contractor refurbished the historic Royal Hotel in Charters Towers to accommodate staff during the construction period, Pajingo gold mine operations general manager Dale Oram said.
Mr Oram said Exact mobilised to site in mid-December 2020, constructing workshop and other facilities at Pajingo for a fleet of up to 12 scrapers, four D10 dozers and various ancillary earthmoving equipment, as well as a crew of 52 operating and supervisory staff.
Their job is to raise the walls of the original Pajingo TSF by 5m, providing capacity for another 18 months of processing throughput and tails deposition.
“Final closure requirements for the operation require the buttressing of the current walls, so this is being incorporated into the new lift,” Mr Oram said.”Material for the construction is being sourced adjacent to the TSF and from a new borrow pit nearby.
“The advantage of the new borrow pit is that it becomes a readily constructed dam able to be turned into a new TSF for future operational needs a very close distance from the processing plant.” Modelling and investigation for the new tailings dam construction would start soon for a potential 2023 start to construction, he said.he
The measures back Minjar Gold’s commitment to extending the mine life at the North Queensland gold operation, where the Lynne decline is targeting a new ore body and the company has invested heavily in work to build the site’s resource base.
“With the success of last year’s exploration and resource definition drilling programs – ‘the year of the drill bit’, and the continuing drilling of nearby and regional targets, this won’t be the last of TSF constructions required at Pajingo as further reserves are added to the project over the coming years,” Mr Oram said.
Exact Civil Construction was the successful bidder for the project construction, with design works carried out by ATC Williams and project management under Tahan Resources, all local Queensland companies.
Mr Oram said the project had been expected to require drill and blast activities in the upper caprock-covered areas of the borrow pit, but Exact were able to mobilise two D11 dozers which had successfully broken harder material and so negated the need to move to drill and blast activities.
The project has required the relocation of optic cable communications infrastructure, relocation of high-voltage power poles and lines and the construction of numerous drainage channels and pipelines.
“The somewhat ‘drier’ wet season has enabled the progress of the project to stay on schedule with completion now expected up to a month earlier than planned around mid-September of this year,” Mr Oram said.
“Having a major project meeting all timelines and cost parameters is a credit to all involved and helps put Pajingo gold mine into a future positive and successful operating position.”