Tolu (ASX:TOK) pave the way to Tolukuma GoldNovember 24, 2023
Tolu Minerals has awarded the transformational contract to pave the way from Bakoiudu Village to the Tolukuma Gold Mine and get back to economic production from a historically high-grade, but laboriously accessed mine in Papua New Guinea.
While only accessible by helicopter, Tolukuma was still a lucrative place to mine. Discovered and developed by Newmont, the site operated from 1995 to 2015, producing around one million ounces at an average recovered grade of 14g/t with a peak of 21.2g/t and 50g/t silver.
But operating costs grew high, and the previous operators failed to connect the mine by road and were placed into liquidation in spite of a large historical resource and lofty remaining exploration potential.
Enter Tolu, who competed a fully owned and encumbered acquisition, and with all existing permits transferred over, is getting ready to take the site back to production with significantly reduced costs.
Tolu Managing Director and CEO Iain Macpherson said critical work had begun, and construction of road access will radically transform how exploration, mine development, and operations will be undertaken across the project.
“The construction of the road will underpin a major cost reduction and enhance the efficiency of logistics. This road will also be transformational for the villages and communities on and close to the route, opening up access to markets that have hitherto been very difficult to access,” Mr Macpherson said.
“The appointment of Tunnel Engineering (PNG) Ltd is a significant step towards technically and commercially de-risking this critical project. We are very excited to commence activity on this road and have set it as a priority project for our operations.”
And it will benefit more than Tolu, with potential to transform the regional infrastructure and open it up to agricultural and economic development to supply the nearby capital city of Port Moresby.
Exploration at Tolukuma is early, but certainly encouraging, with recent work confirming epithermal gold continuity in the structural corridor for at least five kilometres south southeast from the mine and showing the significant potential to rear numerous near mine targets.
Tolu has little doubts on the potential of the broader structure, and targeted exploration will continue as it refurbishes what seems to remain as a very rich and high-grade gold asset soon to be connected, with work set to begin on the first day of December.
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