Vertex Minerals expects the pre-production capital expenditure (capex) for its Reward gold mine in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to be A$28.5m ($19.2m) based on the findings of a pre-feasibility study (PFS).

According to the Australian gold and nickel exploration company, the Reward gold mine is part of its Hill End project located in the central west of NSW.

The indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate (MRE) for the Reward gold deposit comprises 419,000 tonnes at a grade of 16.72g/t Au, amounting to 225,200 ounces of gold. Within this estimate, the indicated mineral resource at the underground operation accounts for 70,500 ounces (oz) of gold, while the inferred mineral resource includes 154,700 ounces.

Vertex Minerals stated that 75% of the life of mine (LOM) gold production will come from the indicated mineral resource, while the remaining 25% is attributed to the inferred mineral resource. The life of mine is estimated to be three years for a gold production of 49,890oz.

As per the PFS, the Reward gold mine is projected to achieve an average monthly gold production of 2,169oz over a period of 23 months, with a gold recovery rate of 92%.

The mine design relies on mechanised mining methods, with the primary stoping method chosen as long-hole open stoping to utilise remotely operated loaders.

Vertex Minerals said that an existing gravity processing plant is located near the underground mine portal at the 640 Level, and the company intends to raise the throughput to 120,000 tons per annum.

Vertex Minerals executive chairman Roger Jackson said: “In determining the parameters for this study, the decision was taken to base the projected figures on the Indicated resource achieved to-date.

“The Board remains firmly of the view that this is the most commercially prudent way to develop the mine, given the cost and logistical benefits that can be achieved by carrying out further drilling from underground alongside mining activities.

“Pleasingly, the numbers outlined in our PFS already demonstrate the strong projected economics of the Reward gold mine based on the existing Indicated resource, notwithstanding the clear potential for further significant resource upgrades as mining operations get underway, as we have high grade exploration targets sitting alongside and below the mining envelope.”