Greetings from Central City and Black Hawk. It’s been a few months since our last Notes report, so allow us to bring you up to date on our progress at the Bates Hunter Mine and the Golden Gilpin Mill.
Our last general communication was in February. Three months ago, the mine was in a state of preliminary readiness. We discussed the hundreds of tons of gold bearing stope fill that were in supersacks above ground, and the thousands of tons broken in stopes below ground. All that stope fill was waiting for the switch to be flipped at the mill. However, we also told you that the prior year had not been kind to progress at the mill. Covid-19 and supply chain and bureaucratic related delays had kept that switch firmly set in the off position. As reported, we also tried a couple of third-party mill options, neither of which panned out. We were proceeding as diligently as we could, but it looked like a long slog.
People often ask us, “How are things at the mine?” That’s an important question, but the current crucial query is, “How are things at the mill?” No matter how many tons of gold bearing material we pile up, they are just piles of rock without a mill to liberate the gold.
We’re happy to report that we are overcoming delays and clearing bottlenecks. In fact, if you’re driving down Route 119 in Black Hawk soon, you’re going to see a lot of action at the Golden Gilpin Mill.
Our long-awaited bridge is finally finished at its New Jersey factory and is ready for delivery in June. The new bridge replaces a much older and narrower bridge, so that heavy equipment and trucks loaded with Bates Hunter gold can safely cross the creek separating the mill from the highway. Within a few weeks, contractors will begin installing the abutments to which the finished bridge will be attached and will begin the work to install a subsurface potable water line from the City’s main line in the road, across from the creek.
In addition to the bridge and water line, they will do the earth work necessary for the foundations that will support the sand barn and the thickener. The thickener is basically a large (40-foot diameter) tank used to start the dewatering of the mill tailings. The sand barn is a large steel building in which the thickened tailings are passed over a high-frequency screen for final dewatering and stored before being sent back to the mine to be returned to fill the voids from which they came. We need the thickener tank and the sand barn to reach our goal of milling 70-75 tons of material a day planned to commence in the last quarter of this year.
While all this is going on outside the mill, the finishing touches are being put on the inside. Although we can’t reach full capacity until the exterior is completed, we should be able to begin processing 20 tons a day as soon as we complete certain interior functions and install some smaller temporary dewatering equipment. We’ll be installing the coarse ore bin and feeder, buttoning up the jaw crusher and ball mill, and installing the conveyor to move material from the jaw crusher to the bucket elevator. The bucket elevator will see some significant improvements to the previous unit. After grinding, the material will be classified (sized) with properly sized material moving to the bank of float cells which are finished and ready for 20 tons a day. If all goes according to plan, these finishing touches and some small bits and pieces will all be accomplished by the end of August, and the Golden Gilpin Mill will be turning out gold seven days a week for the first time in decades. So, keep the champagne on ice – we’re almost there. This important testing and characterization phase will be the immediate precursor to the full operation of the mill.
A last note – good news for those of you who made advance purchase of gold and for those of you who may want to take advantage of the ounces still available for pre-sale. Many of you have inquired as to whether we will be able to stamp the five-ounce gold bars with the GS Mining Company logo. I’m happy to report that the answer is in the affirmative, and that we’ll be delivering bars stamped both 99.99% pure and with our company logo prominently and proudly displayed.
Stay tuned for further announcements.
GS Mining Company