Alcyone commenced production from the Twin Hills heap leach mining operation in July 2011 and is currently ramping up to a targeted annualised production rate of 1.2-1.5 million ounces of silver per annum.
The Twin Hills Mine was originally operated by former owner, Macmin Silver, and between March 2007 and July 2009 produced approximately 500,000 ounces of silver before being placed on full Care & Maintenance due to operational challenges.
Alcyone acquired the Project in November 2009, and has moved rapidly from acquisition, through re-assessment and feasibility and into production.
The Company has upgraded the existing 1Mtpa Twin Hills processing plant, including the installation of a new crushing circuit and a commercial-scale Merrill Crowe silver recovery circuit. Both have been successfully commissioned and the heap leach is now moving towards overall design processing capacity.
In March 2012 Alcyone reported a substantial increase in the Mineral Resource estimate for the Twin Hills deposit, which is the current source of ore feed for the mining operation.
The updated Mineral Resource comprises 9.5 million tonnes grading 53.8g/t Ag for 16.4 million ounces of contained silver at a cut-off of 26.5g/t Ag. This represents a 69% increase in contained silver over the previous Mineral Resource estimate (3.684Mt grading 82g/t Ag reported at a 40g/t Ag for 9.7 million ounces) reported to the same surface. Click here to see full JORC Resource.
Based on current heap leach silver resources at the Twin Hills deposit alone, the operation has a declared mine life of five years based on a forecast production rate of 1.2-1.5Moz per annum.
Alcyone is currently undertaking a review of the Twin Hills mine plan following the resource upgrade, and is also completing a feasibility study of the Mount Gunyan resource with the aim of investigating its potential to form a second source of ore feed for the mining operation.
It is anticipated that these initiatives will deliver an increase in mine life and put the Company well down the path of achieving its 10 year mine life target. This will be supported by an aggressive exploration programme aimed at increasing the silver resource base to between 30 and 50 million ounces.