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MAX Mine attempts to show wall sloughing, geotechnical instability can be controlled

By Contributor
October 24th, 2011

Very good wall conditions and control were recorded at Roca’s MAX Mine near Trout Lake since the underground operations of Roca MAX Mine restarted at the end of July.

Crews have focused on new blasting designs and practices in an effort to demonstrate that previous experiences with wall sloughing, and geotechnical instability could be controlled.

It is apparent that previous blasting practices caused unnecessary damage, ultimately leading to the stope operating problems described previously.

Production since start-up has been approximately 25 per cent below target due to the more conservative blasting practices.

Having observed stope wall performance, it can now be assumed that the head grades processed since the beginning of August represent deliverable grades.

This is lower than initially targeted, based on drilling and sampling on upper levels. While the grades observed to date may appear high in context with other molybdenum mines globally, these grades are effectively at the current break-even level for the operation given current oxide prices and the historically high Canadian dollar, labour and energy costs.

The MAX mine was initially conceived as a high-grade mine that would expand production over time to lower unit costs and allow the processing of lower grade materials.

While a significant amount of work has been completed towards a planned expansion to the permitted Phase two, these throughput rates have not been achieved due to restricted cash flow.

Management is reviewing alternative plans including the option to accelerate the Phase II expansion of the operation. This would allow its sustained operation at current molybdenum price levels, and preserve the opportunity to benefit from any increase in molybdenum prices in the future.

Categories: Business

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