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Trident Underground Gold Mine – The First Three Years


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Author J Howard and T James


Following discovery in October 2004, commencement of development in February 2007 and first ore production in mid 2007, the Trident gold deposit, located in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia, has now been successfully mined for over three years. Three years of operational history has enabled the performance of the Trident underground mine to be reconciled against the mine plan and strategy proposed for the original feasibility study.

The Trident deposit, initially based on two lode systems known as the Eastern Zone and Western Zone, has been continuously drilled, interpreted and re-interpreted over the period and as a result the addition of the Athena, Apollo and Artemis lode systems as well as numerous smaller scale lodes has been realised. The first three years has seen the Trident underground mine quickly move up to its 1 Mtpa design production rate. The mine plan and strategy used in the initial feasibility study and subsequently implemented, required sufficient flexibility to enable modification and optimisation to mine plans as ore zones were further defined. The ability to modify the mining plans has enabled Avoca to achieve its mining targets at Trident. With over 250 000 ounces gold produced to January 2010, the company is well positioned to achieve its ten year vision associated with the Higginsville Gold Project.

This paper offers an account of
operational experiences whilst providing comparison to assumptions and
methodologies used in the original feasibility study. The paper is a sequel to a
paper presented at the Tenth Underground Operators’ Conference held in
Launceston, Tasmania titled Development Strategy of the Trident Underground Gold

Howard, J and
James, T, 2011. Trident
underground gold mine – the first three years, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’

pp 91-102 (The Australasian Institute of Mining
and Metallurgy: Melbourne).