Expansion - Proposed Chatree North Gold Processing Plant
The proposed Chatree North Expansion Plant utilises a proven ore dressing technique called Leaching and Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP), similar to the current operating plant. The throughput capacity of the proposed plant is 2.7 million tonnes per annum (2.7mtpa) thus the total Chatree throughput will increase to 5 million tonnes per annum (5mtpa). The plant would treat low-grade gold ore previously crushed to a fine powder in the plant’s grinding circuit. The plant will process ore common to both the existing and new plants and a weightometer will determine the tonnage of ore processed by each plant. Water and reagents for extracting gold, including a weak cyanide solution, and activated carbon are then mixed with the powdered rock to separate approximately 90% of the gold and 60-70% of the silver then poured as gold–silver “doré” bars. The waste powdered rock is stored in a tailings storage facility and most of the water and reagents are recycled for further use in the processing plant. There is zero discharge of liquids from the site.
The mine is accredited under the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC). Akara Mining was a founding member of the ICMC, a non-compulsory organisation of world class mining companies aiming to manage cyanide usage and transport in a safe and responsible manner. Akara Mining, as operators of the Chatree mine, was the smallest gold producer in the world to be accredited under this rigorous code. Cyanide levels at Chatree’s tailings storage facility are substantially below the ICMC’s threshold. The mine currently has the following ISO standards: ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), OHSAS 18000 (Health and Safety) and SA8000 (Social Accountability). These standards will also apply to the new plant.
Labour Utilisation and Training
Akara Mining focused on local employment and training a year before it commenced its first operation in November 2001 which has resulted in a 99% Thai workforce. In that time, the workforce has increased from approximately 200 in November 2001, when the mine started, to an average during 2008 of 833 of which approximately 80% were sourced from local villages and only 6 expatriates were employed by Akara Mining. Due to a production increase to provide ore feed for the new plant, more than 250 additional people will be employed in the new plant (predominantly), administration and by the mining contractor. Akara’s strong focus on training at all levels will be expanded to cover the increased workforce.