Sumitomo Will Develop New Orebody at Hishikari Gold Mine

Ore genesis of the Hishikari deposits.
Sumitomo Metal Mining has announced plans to develop a promising orebody recently confirmed to exist at its Hishikari mine in Kagoshima prefecture, Japan. The orebody is located under and is con-tinuous with an orebody currently being mined. Based on the results of prospect-ing to date, the company expects devel-opment at this new site to generate an estimated 965,000 oz of gold.

Sumitomo has drafted an investment plan for the project totaling approximate-ly 3.2 billion yen ($40.8 million). Work is scheduled to start in November 2012, with mining of the lower orebody planned to begin in 2018.

Mining at the Hishikari mine is compli-cated by the presence of subterranean thermal water, and current mining got underway only after installation of equip-ment for lowering the water level, placed at a depth of 50 m below sea level. Now that prospecting has confirmed the presence of a promising continuous orebody below the present water level, the water will need to be lowered further before mining of the lower orebody can begin. Equipment will be installed inside the mine at a depth of 80 m below sea level for this purpose.

The Sumitomo announcement notes that, “The Hishikari mine is Japan’s most prolific gold mine and provides Sumitomo with an important and stable source of earnings. The mine is also the only location in Japan where mining engineers can be trained as a preliminary step toward acquir-ing natural resources overseas. Sumitomo is strongly committed to securing new gold resources at Hishikari.”

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 11 -