Vancouver-based Lion One is targeting initial gold production at its Tuvatu alkaline gold project in Fiji by the end of the December quarter 2023.
Lion One has secured production permits for its gold mining operations, and has ordered critical equipment for its mobile crushing unit.
The company's milling facility will be installed in the September quarter of 2023. The initial mill capacity will be 300 tonnes per day for approximately 24,000 ounces of gold per year. The mill is scalable, and can ramp up to 1,200 tpd, Lion One said.
Initial metallurgical work indicated gold recovery rates of 87.5%, as of September 2020. Lion One has undertaken updated work with Met-Solve Laboratories which found potential recoveries of higher than 90%.
These higher recoveries can be achieved using a combined process of gravity concentration with intensive cyanidation and carbon-in-pulp cyanidation.
Lion One plans to further refine the plant during the engineering and procurement process.
The crushing plant will include two stages of crushing, using an open-circuit primary jaw crusher and a closed-circuit secondary cone crusher.
Lion One has completed engineering of the tailings storage facilities for the first year of the mine's operation. The company anticipates additional construction in the second year of operation.
The mine will be powered by five 800 kW diesel-powered operators, with one remaining on standby, which will run the underground mine and the process plant. Lion One is also considering combining solar and diesel generation to meet its power needs.
Tuvalu contains indicated resources of 1.0 million tonnes at 8.48 g/t of gold for 274,600 ounces, and inferred resources of 1.3 million tonnes at 9.0 g/t of gold for 384,000 gold ounces.
Mine development was paused for several weeks in the spring of 2021 due to a COVID-19 lockdown in the country. The mine re-opened for development on May 30.