All components of the 150t/d mill at the B3 Zone have been individually tested with necessary adjustments made; all elements are now operating correctly.
"After final adjustments are made, the company expects be able process gold oxide mineralisation on a continuous basis and, in the coming weeks, the mill's daily throughput volumes will be increased gradually as processing procedures and equipment are fine-tuned to optimise plant capacity and gold recovery during the final stage of the commissioning period," officials said.
The mill's production line includes a five-tonne upper feeder bin that feeds a 40 t/h vibrating feeder, primary crusher, cylinder washing machine, secondary fine crusher, ball mill and two S-60 Knelson concentrators with a process capacity of up to 35 t/h wet at a density of 50-60%.
The concentrate is then processed on a Model 6S shaking table to separate gold from other minerals. The plant itself is powered by a 250kW YTO diesel generator with water supplied by two 100m-deep water producing between 10,000 and 15,000 litres of water each hour, supported by an on-site reservoir.
"Commissioning of the Balandougou plant is proceeding well and that we are nearing the stage where the mill can process gold oxide mineralisation on a continuous basis," vice president exploration and COO Maurice Giroux said.
"After just a few cycles of continuous operation, we are very pleased that the plant is performing well and that the Knelson concentrators and the shaking table are correctly adjusted and recovering the very fine gold down to as small as 100 microns in size. Thus far, teething problems have been minor, with adequate solutions found."
He said that, as final modifications and adjustment are made, the company is increasingly optimistic of its operating objective of 150t/d.
Looking ahead, Stellar AfricaGold will be processing a 15,000t bulk sample to test economic viability of processing the site's 60m-thick oxide portion of the B3 Zone gold mineralisation using gravity separation only. The sample, which is now stockpiled, will be processed over the coming four months. With profitable economics, milling operations will then continue a commercial basis.
In addition to Balandougou, the miner also owns the Namarana project in Mali and the Opawica project in the Chibougamau mining camp in Quebec.