The Carosue Dam Operations (CDO) processing plant, modern accommodation village and other vital infrastructure are all located within the South Laverton gold field, situated 120km North East of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
The CDO processing plant was constructed by JR Engineering in 2000 and commissioned in November of that year. The CDO operated continuously through to June 2005 when it was put on a care and maintenance program, due to a depressed gold price.
In February 2006 Saracen acquired the CDO processing plant as part of a package of tenements known as South Laverton from St Barbara Limited. The processing facility and associated infrastructure remained in excellent working order. Minimal refurbishment was required to reinstate the mill to its full nameplate capacity of 2.4Mtpa in late 2009.
Historically, the CDO processing plant was designed to treat 2.0Mtpa of primary ore. This could be increased to 2.4Mtpa by blending softer oxide and transitional ore types into the mill feed. The process flow is simple, incorporating a two stage crushing for a final product size of 20mm and single stage grinding to 200 microns. Gold recovery is via gravity concentration and carbon-in-leach cyanidation (CIL).
The plant processed over 10Mt of ore in its previous five year operating life – averaging 2.2Mtpa, and over 700koz of recoverable gold was produced.
Processing at the CDO plant re-commenced at the beginning of 2010, with gold production being sustained at a rate of 120koz pa from within the South Laverton region of Western Australia.
Historical performance reflects a well-designed plant, suited to the range of ore types included in the current project reserves. Comparison of actual versus design performance indicated a progressive optimisation of operating conditions over the mine life. No deficiencies or concerns with the design or historical performance in respect of the current project ore sources have been identified, and current performance has the plant operating at a throughput of 2.5Mtpa, which is in excess of the nameplate capacity.
The on-site facilities also include an administration office, electrical and maintenance workshops, stores warehouse, first aid rooms and emergency response facilities, all of which are fully operational.
Approximately 3km to the South of the CDO processing plant is a modern and well-appointed accommodation village. The village was constructed in 2000 and expanded and enhanced in 2011, and now consists of 300 bedrooms, wet and dry messing facilities, gymnasium, internet café, EFTPOS facilities, Wi-Fi connections, FOXTEL, tennis court, laundries, dining room and recreation room.
By mid 2011 a second accommodation village with a 120 person capacity had been constructed at Red October to house the underground workforce.
Other infrastructure of note is the extensive haulage network that was extended in 2010, and which underwent further additions to connect through to Red October in 2011. Substantial dewatering, process water, and potable pipelines have been established since the re-commencement of operations, with plans in train for further development of this vital asset.