(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Lachlan Star (ASX: LSA) has achieved a new record during the September 2012 quarter with gold mined at its CMD Mine in Chile up 14% quarter-on-quarter to 17,973 ounces under its ownership.
The strong performance in the September quarter has been driven by a rapid increase in the ore mining and stacking rates from the last week of August onwards. Peak crushing and stacking rates have been as high as 21,000 tonnes per day during September.
The ore tonnes mined and stacked in September are the highest at the CMD Gold Mine since July 2008 and total mining movement of 2 million tonnes in the month of September is a record for the operation.
Lachlan mined 1.11 million tonnes of ore during the quarter, a 27% increase on the previous quarter, while ore tonnes crushed and stacked were up 13% to 980,762 tonnes.
Gold stacked in the September quarter was up 6% quarter-on-quarter to 16,220 ounces.
Mining of the run of mine ore has begun with that material being stockpiled until placement on the leach pad starts in the December 2012 quarter.
The increase in the ore mining and stacking rates was the result of improved planning in the mining department, improved blasting practices, tonnage and grade overcall from the Tres Perlas deposit, and maintenance work in the crushing plant to increase availability.
The record quarterly performance has been achieved despite the plant being offline in mid-August for three days to facilitate the maintenance work, and five public holidays in the month of September.
Lachlan ended the quarter with crushed ore stockpiles of 50,000 tonnes within the plant which is in addition to the ore tonnages stacked.
A total of 81,500 tonnes of run of mine ore at 0.23 grams per tonne (g/t) gold was stockpiled in the September quarter.
Ore grades from the Tres Perlas pit have in general been higher than predicted by the resource model, which has resulted in ore that was expected to present as run of mine ore being of sufficient grade to justify crushing.
Last month the CMD Mine's Indicated Resource surpassed 2 million gold ounces, marking a 15% increase.
Total contained gold has grown 500% within the past two years.
The mine now hosts 3.4 million gold ounces (2.058 million ounces Indicated and 1.354 million ounces Inferred).
Owner mining fleet
The implementation of the owner mining fleet is expected be fully operational in early 2013 and will further enhance Lachlan's ability to ramp up production.
The move to the owner fleet in managing material on the leach pads is expected to deliver processing cost savings of between US15 and US20 per ounce once fully operational.
Lachlan has now taken delivery of the Dynamic pad fleet consisting of seven Mercedes Benz road trucks to be utilised in moving material between the primary and secondary leach pads.
These trucks will be utilised in conjunction with the two Komatsu loaders that were delivered in September.
Over the next three months Lachlan will take ownership of the remaining mining fleet consisting of seven HD785 (100 tonne) trucks, two WA900 loaders and ancillary support equipment.
This equipment will allow the operation to decrease reliance on mining contractors, improve efficiency, increase throughput and reduce unit costs.
Management team expands
Lachlan has also been beefing up its mining team during the September quarter, with the addition of three new members.
The company appointed Mauricio Martinez " a Chilean mining engineer with over 30 years experience in open-pit mine planning, production scheduling and operations management " to the position of manager mining.
Martinez previously held the position of general manager with junior Canadian gold mining companies.
James Van Gundy, with over 30 years experience in both fixed plant and mobile fleet maintenance, has assumed the role of engineering manager.
Van Gundy was most recently employed as maintenance manager at Minefinders Corporation's Dolores mine in Mexico, which utilised the same Komatsu truck fleet as the new fleet for the CMD Gold Mine.
Lastly, Lachlan has appointed Jody Snare, who has over 20 years experience in open pit operations, as drilling & blasting superintendent.
Snare was most recently the senior production superintendent for Leighton Asia in Northern Sumatra.
Prior to this he was operations general foreman for the Washington Group Ontario and operations manager for the Washington Group Bolivia at the San Cristobal Mine.