Resolute Achieves Commercial Production at Syama Underground

Fully automated LHD carries ore from Level 1105 at the Syama mine. (Photo: Resolute)
Resolute Mining reported in late June that its new Syama underground mine in southern Mali had achieved commercial production rates and was operating at more than 80% of nameplate capacity. The sub-level caving operation will be the world’s first fully automated underground gold mine and at full capacity will produce approximately 2.4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of ore. Syama’s surface automation control room was fully operational, and underground automated drilling was achieving targeted performance, with greater accuracy than manual drilling, the company said.

Resolute Managing Director and CEO John Welborn said Syama is continuing to deliver on the company’s important strategic goals for 2019. “The Syama underground mine will transform Resolute. Achievement of sustained rates of commercial production from the world’s first fully automated underground gold mine is a key milestone for Syama, for Resolute, and for the mining industry,” he added. Underground pumping systems are fully installed and operational. In addition to the underground pumping facility, a surface water management program is in place, allowing the mine to intercept and remove a large volume of rainfall that would otherwise enter the mine during heavy rain events.

The Syama complex includes two processing circuits, a 2.4-million-mt/y sulphide circuit and a 1.5-million-mt/y oxide circuit. When the underground mine is fully ramped-up, Syama will have capacity to produce about 300,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of gold. To fully automate the Syama mine, Sandvik is delivering its AutoMine and OptiMine systems for planning, analysis, process optimization and automation, and a full fleet of Sandvik trucks and loaders.

Resolute cited a number of key benefits available through adoption of automation and associated communication and information systems, including increased machine productivity and performance; reduction in number of machines required, leading to capital and maintenance savings; reduced risk and better safety outcomes, including reduced emissions, noise, and vibration; reduction in required personnel underground; lower production costs per tonne; greater control of mining with less variation, which results in less dilution; reduction in equipment wear and damage; increased productivity and efficiency and optimized scheduling; greater machine life; opportunity for mining rate increases without requirement for additional infrastructure; and ability to train the Syama workforce using new intuitive technologies.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 08 -