Even though Golden Queen Mining (GQM-T) has completed a new feasibility study for its Soledad Mountain gold-silver project in southern California, the company has some time before it will know if it can move forward.
California’s tough mining laws mean Golden Queen has had to make amendments to its proposed open pit heap leach operation.
The government introduced backfilling requirements for certain types of open pit metal mines in December 2002.
Before going the environmental route, Golden Queen, with the support of the local Kern County government, decided the new rules would not apply to it under a “grandfathering” provision.
The company argued that nothing had changed since a previous environmental assessment done in 1997.
The state disagreed and rejected Golden Queen last January.
After that, the company hired Norwest Corporation to do a life-of-mine waste rock management plan.
The plan incorporates sequential and partial backfilling of mined-out phases of the open pit with no double-handling of waste rock at the end of the mine life.
A revised environmental impact report will begin in the New Year.
According to the feasibility study, the Soledad Mountain project has proven and probable reserves of 46.6 million tonnes grading 0.703 grams gold per tonne and 12.96 grams silver for a total of more than 1 million oz. gold and 19.4 million oz. silver.
The project would produce about 75,000 oz. gold and 950,000 oz. silver per year over a mine life of 12 years.
Ore would be processed at a rate of 4.5 million tonnes per year once in full production.
The primary rock types to be mined are rhyolite porphyry and flow-banded rhyolite, pyroclastics, quartz latite porphyry and siliceous vein material.
Golden Queen shares were down 2 to 78 today on a trading volume of 24,500 shars.