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Minjar Gold’s Pajingo operation has started construction of a new decline, with the first blast for the box cut completed last week.

It is the first new decline at the Charters Towers district mine in 24 years and is expected to take it down the path to what is being dubbed ‘Pajingo 2.0’.

General manager – Pajingo operations Kerry Payne said the decline would provide access to the Lynne ore body, with a 63,000-ounce reserve, and open up exciting exploration opportunities.

“It’s not just about that first phase of mining – although with gold prices where they are at the moment, that will have a good return. It’s getting that infrastructure down there to explore and discover the massive potential we have there,” Mr Payne said.

Site continues to surprise

Exploration from the surface is continually unearthing encouraging finds, including the recent discovery of visible gold in a Lynne East drill hole (whereas Pajingo generally has only yielded microgold, despite ore grades above 100g per tonne).

“It continues to surprise,” Mr Payne said.   

Lynne is on the same trend as the Vera-Nancy system, which has been the backbone of Pajingo’s gold production and will continue to be mined.

That underground mine has developed to the stage where crews must travel 3-4km from the portal to reach the area now being worked.

“Lynne would be even further, so we are using this option to disconnect from the old infrastructure so we don’t have to go through all the old workings,” Mr Payne said.

A new haul road has been developed to run from the new portal to the mill, cutting about 4km off the existing route.

An announcement is expected within weeks on the appointment of an underground mining contractor to lead phase one underground mining at Lynne.

Mr Payne said Pajingo hoped to see first development ore from the new underground area in 2020 and to be in production there in 2021/22.

The three-year first phase will target the established 63,000-ounce reserve – however Minjar Gold is still actively exploring to build the resource and expects a step change up as it enters phase two mining of surrounding ore bodies.

More local jobs

Minjar Gold expects that new jobs will be created at Pajingo due to the Lynne project and says the site will continue its practice of recruiting from the local community where possible.

Meanwhile the company is still exploring and developing the existing Vera-Nancy mine, recently establishing a new area known as the Camembert lode – where the resource was recently increased by 30 per cent.

“We’ll be in production there in the second half of this year and again we’re seeing an exploration upside,” Mr Payne said.

New decline opens golden opportunities at Pajingo