Progress stalls, shares slump
MOMENTUM has stalled at the Granite Belt silver project leading shares in junior explorer Moreton Resources to dwindle.
Since acquiring the project in 2016, Moreton has been working towards a restart of the mine, which had previously been in the spotlight over contamination fears.
Last week it was discovered that the mine has three times the amount of pond sludge initially estimated.
This has delayed the commissioning of the heap leaches, which is where the bulk of the imminent production is contained.
The announcement led to shares slipping 6.7 per cent to 1.4c. Moreton was expecting to produce around 90,000 ounces each month by the end of January, but the company now says it will need to assess the situation at their Texas mine in the coming weeks to ascertain if it can still meet its operational targets.
An estimated 1600 cubic metres of sediment has been moved and there is still a further 1200 cubic metres to shift.
Moreton expects it to take another two weeks to shift the sludge and the vat leaching process will further hold up production.
Moreton has also found integrity issues with the liner in the intermediate pond.
"We are not prepared to operate the pond without having fully inspected and repaired any issues with the liner's integrity once all the sediment at the bottom of the intermediate pond has been removed,” a Moreton spokesperson said.
Moreton CEO Jason Elks has always talked up the employment impact the mine could have on the region and hasn't wavered from this.
"The Granite Belt project is not only significant for Moreton but also for the region in which it is located,” he said. "The company is looking forward to contributing to economic development of Texas and the surrounding communities.”