MAC: Mines and Communities

Aureus Mining halts gold mine in Liberia after cyanide leak

Published by MAC on 2016-05-20
Source: Digital Look, Montreal Gazette (2016-05-10)

Aureus Mining Inc. is listed on London's AIM and the Toronto stock exchange.

It's explores and "develops" gold deposits in parts of Cameroon and Liberia - where it operates the New Liberty Gold Mine.

Shares in the company slumped 44% in value in early May, as Aureus announced a temporary suspension of mining operations, due to a cyanide leak.

Aureus Mining argued that heavy rainfall resulted in a “small overflow” of effluents from the tailings facility onto the wetlands area within the mining lease.

However, it also admitted that the mine's detoxification circuit facility had not been operated to its original design specifications, resulting in higher concentrations of WAD (weak acid dissociated cyanide) in the process effluent.

But Aureaus hadn't considered this sufficient reason to shut down operations.

 

Aureus Mining suspends processing after cyanide leak

Oliver Haill

http://www.digitallook.com/news/aim-bulletin/aureus-mining-suspends-processing-after-cyanide-leak--1157939.html

10 May 2016

Aureus Mining has suspended processing activity at its New Liberty gold mine in Liberia after a cyanide spillage.

Shares in the company slumped 44% to 3.63p in early trade on Tuesday after the AIM- and Toronto-listed outfit said heavy rainfall had combined with problems with the detoxification circuit in the process plant, leading to a dangerous spillage.

Aureus, which has continued mining activities at the site to build up ore stockpiles, was hopeful that operations can recommence “in the near future”, though approval will be first be required from Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the local mines ministry.

Aureus said the detoxification circuit at New Liberty facility had not been operating to its original design specifications, which has resulted in higher concentrations of cyanide WAD (weak acid dissociated cyanide) in the process effluent, though this had not led the company to cease operations.

Some recent heavy rainfall “inadvertently” then resulted in a “small overflow” of effluent from the tailings facility onto the wetlands area within the mining lease area.

Aureus said there appeared to be "no adverse impact" on any human settlement as the discharge took place within the mining lease and some five kilometres from the nearest settlement.

Remediation work was said to have begun to fix the detoxification circuit, with the EPA is "in the process" of reviewing and approving this remediation work and to manage future water discharge from the tailings storage facility.

During this temporary suspension of processing operations, the company is taking the opportunity to carry out the planned mill reline and other preventative engineering maintenance and repairs, as well as modifications to the detox circuit proposed by external consultants.

"Oh dear," said analyst Yuen Low at broker Shore Capital, noting this rather spoiled news earlier this month that Aureus’s lenders approved a further deferral of the first debt repayment to 31 May after the company completed work on its updated life-of-mine (LOM) plan.

"The spillage there has occurred at a particularly inopportune time, potentially throwing a spanner into negotiations works.

"We therefore suspend our 'buy' recommendation pending greater clarity on operational restart, punitive measures that might be imposed by the Liberian government, the impact on debt repayment negotiations and Aureus’s financial position."


 

New Liberty Temporarily Suspends Gold Plant Operations

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/cnw/release.html?rkey=20160510C8842&filter=5611

May 10, 2016

Aureus Mining Inc. ("Aureus" or the "Company"), the TSX and AIM listed West African gold producer, reports that operations at the New Liberty Gold Mine ("New Liberty") have been temporarily suspended as a consequence of problems with the detoxification circuit in the process plant.

The detoxification circuit has not been operating to original design specifications resulting in higher concentrations of cyanide WAD (weak acid dissociated cyanide) in the process effluent. The Company had therefore been operating with process water in a closed circuit (zero discharge from the Tailings Storage Facility ("TSF")). Recent heavy rainfall inadvertently resulted in a small overflow of effluent from the TSF onto the wetlands area (within the mining lease area).

Aureus is conducting remediation work to rectify the issues in the detoxification circuit and to manage future water discharge from the TSF in order for operations to recommence in the near future.

The Company's investigations to date indicate that there has been no adverse impact on any human settlement as the discharge took place within the mining lease and some five kilometres from the nearest settlement. However, further investigations are in progress and in view of this leakage, a decision was taken to suspend processing operations on 7 May 2016.

SRK Consulting (UK) Limited ("SRK"), are on site at New Liberty assisting Aureus engineering staff with the evaluation of the adjustments to be made to the waste neutralisation section of the detoxification circuit and the management of water discharge from the TSF in order for processing operations at New Liberty to recommence.

Aureus and Bea Mountain Mining Corp. ("BMMC"), a fully owned subsidiary of Aureus, are co-ordinating work with the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia ("EPA") and the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy ("MLME") and local downstream communities in order to mitigate against any environmental related risks. The EPA is in the process of reviewing and approving the proposed remediation work required to rectify the detoxification circuit and to manage future water discharge from the TSF. Approval from the EPA and MLME is required before gold processing operations can recommence.

During this temporary suspension of processing operations, the Company is taking the opportunity to effect a mill reline, undertake other preventative engineering maintenance and repairs (all of which were previously scheduled) as well as modifications to the detox circuit proposed by the expert consultants. Furthermore mining operations are continuing at New Liberty in order to build up ore stockpiles and undertake waste stripping.

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