Phase 1 of the operation is focused on copper; producing around 630 metric tonnes a day of ore with an average head grade of 4% Copper Equivalent (Cu.Eq), it's a high-grade low tonnage start up. The ore from the 1807 zone is being mined and blended with ore from the Lower Footwall Zone.
The processing of ore from the lower footwall zone is essentially a pilot test that will provide invaluable information when future engineering and economic evaluations are conducted on the lower footwall zone.
The recently installed copper flotation circuit was installed with a name-plate design capacity of 1,000 mtpd. In addition with a small capital investment in equipment at the mine it to has the ability to produce at 1,000 mtpd thereby matching the mill. To date the historical crushing and grinding circuit appears to be the bottleneck. The Company is investigating the possibility of installing a new crushing and grinding circuit at Nugget Pond; which would allow an expansion of the Phase 1 plan. In addition the installation of such a new crushing and grinding circuit would allow both the gold hydromet and copper concentrator to be run simultaneously in parallel with one another. Thus at some point in future Rambler would have the ability to produce both a copper concentrate with precious metals in the concentrate and pour a gold dore bar.
The Company is also looking to maximize gold recovery beyond the 65% seen to date through the copper concentrator by re-proceesing the tailings before discharge to the tailings pond by sending them through the gold hydromet. The procedure worked in the laboratory increasing the gold recovery to 85% overall.
The Lower Footwall Zone is located approximately 100 metres below the Ming Massive Sulphide deposit and generally parallel to the historic Ming Mine workings. To date, the deposit has been identified along a 1500 metre plunge length and has an approximate width of 50 to 200 metres. The deposit thickness generally exceeds 20 metres, up to 70 metres with a fuly funded Phase II expansion plan as a low-cost, bulk underground mining operation.
The LFZ has a resource of more than 26M tonnes which forms the basis of the most recent NI43-101 Technical Report completed in July 2015. As with the Phase I plan, the Company would first optimize the Nugget Pond facility over the next two years to 1,250 metric tonnes per day.