|Annual production has varied between 74,000 and 154,000 ounces of gold since the Chatree mine opened in November 2001 with the production variation dependant on the ore feed grade and the capacity of the processing plant. In July 2008, the adjoining Chatree North mining leases were granted and full access was available from November 2008. The processing plant operated at full capacity in January 2009 after six months of limited ore feed during the transition from sourcing ore from the Chatree mine, from which almost all near-surface extractable ore had been exhausted, to the ore supply from newly established pits in the Chatree North area.
During 2009, while softer ore was available, the throughput rate of the processing plant was temporarily raised to 2.6 million tonnes per annum (2.6mtpa) which is expected to revert to 2.3 to 2.4mtpa when processing solely hard fresh ore. 2009 ore feed grades varied between 1.5 and 2.3 grams/tonne gold (g/t Au) at cash costs of US$288-359/ounce, including royalties. Chatree produced 93,000 ounces of gold from ore feed grades of 1.7g/t Au in the fiscal year ending June 2009. Low ore feed grades of 1.1g/t Au produced 74,000 ounces gold in the prior fiscal year to June 2008.
During the March quarter 2010, the mine is expected to pass the production “milestone” of 1 million ounces produced since the mine opened in 2001. Gold production is forecast to be at the upper end of the range of 120-140,000 ounces of gold to the end of the fiscal year in June 2010.