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Option revealed for KCGM Super Pit wall collapse fix

As Saracen Mineral Holdings yesterday took a step closer to snapping up a 50 per cent stake in KCGM’s Super Pit, a clearer picture of plans to tackle a wall failure at the famous mine are starting to emerge.

Saracen yesterday locked in $701 million in the institutional component of an equity raising to help fund the $1.1 billion acquisition.

That comes after Saracen on Monday said it expected the remediation to the two wall slips in May last year to take 3½ years.

The Kalgoorlie Miner understands about 30 per cent of the pit floor has been quarantined at the base of the slip where it is believed there is a relatively significant resource of high-grade gold.

KCGM yesterday said it was reviewing several options to remediate the Fimiston pit east wall failure.KCGM yesterday said it was reviewing several options to remediate the Fimiston pit east wall failure.
Camera IconKCGM yesterday said it was reviewing several options to remediate the Fimiston pit east wall failure. Credit: Kalgoorlie Miner, Tori O’Connor

The Miner understands one of the options on the table is a layback that could reopen access on the eastern wall and the quarantined area at the pit’s base. The aftermath of the two slides is still visible from the popular public viewing platform.

Possible solutions to the event that led to redundancies and a drop in production have been slow to emerge.

But KCGM yesterday said it was reviewing several options to remediate the Fimiston pit east wall failure, with recommendations due early next year.

Saracen’s bid to take Canadian-based Barrick Gold’s 50 per cent stake in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder mine endorses belief there is still significant value to be had from the stretch once considered the world’s richest mile.

US-based Newmont Goldcorp, which owns the other 50 per cent, on Monday welcomed Saracen with open arms. Newmont president and chief executive Tom Palmer said the Golden Mile offered “ongoing growth and value generating opportunities”.

That was reinforced by Saracen boss Raleigh Finlayson, who yesterday said the company was looking forward to closing the transaction and working with Newmont “to fully unlock the potential of the large, long life, high-quality Super Pit”.

KCGM’s added 3.6 million ounces to its resource at the end of last year after upping the ante on exploration about two years ago.

The company has five drill rigs on surface with two underground.

KCGM yesterday said it was exploring growth opportunities for the Fimiston south open pit and Mount Charlotte East underground.

In addition, the company is seeking approval to extend its tailings storage facility to allow for the uninterrupted continuation of KCGM’s operations with current life of mine plan that will see gold processing until about 2034.

Ahead of today’s presentation at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry 2019 What’s Down the Track Forum, KCGM general manager Cecile Thaxter said the company was looking forward to a bright future.

“KCGM will continue to shape our culture — delivering on our commitments, earning the right to grow and in doing so, supporting the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community for many years to come,” she said.

KCGM spent $250 million locally last financial year and injected $32 million into the State coffers through royalties and taxes.

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