Bogoso/Prestea Gold Mines is pleased to announce that the dewatering programme for the underground mine, which has been ongoing for some months, has been enhanced by the installation of a new high capacity pump on 17 level (about 692 metres below surface). The new pump, which cost in excess of $250,000, will complement the other new pumps purchased in 2004 and earlier in 2005 and marks a significant milestone in reducing the water level that has impeded the exploration drilling on the lower levels of the underground over the last 12 months. These levels were flooded as a result of an increase in water ingress to the underground mine in 2004 as a result of heavy rains and indiscriminate openings to the underground mine caused by illegal mining.
The new equipment will be able to pump in excess of 3,400 litres of mine water per minute to a height of 750m which enables water to be pumped directly to surface from 17 level. The inclusion of this pump into our dewatering system will allow existing pumps to be overhauled and refurbished. The program has dropped water levels to 29 level (1,125 metres below surface) and it is anticipated that 30 level (1,165 metres below surface) will be reached in October of this year. The dewatering project will not stop there, with pumps allocated for a new pump chamber on 34 level (1,345 metres below surface) and the intent is to reclaim 35 level (1,390 metres below surface) for the first time in over 20 years. 35 level is the deepest development in the mine. New pipes and shaft steelwork have been ordered to ensure that these targets are met.
New fans have been purchased for 30 level to ensure that the ventilation of the development tunnels will be sufficient to enable tunneling and drilling operations to resume once this level is dewatered. This will enhance the safety and well-being of the 214 employees of the Prestea Underground operations.
In order to accelerate the underground exploration program the company has purchased two new underground diamond drill rigs and accessories at a cost of over $600,000. These new drills will be able to penetrate to significantly greater depths than the current drill rigs being used underground. Whilst 30 level is being recovered, current exploration drilling is focused on the upper levels.
The Company's significant expenditures on new pumps and fans, shaft refurbishment and new drill rigs are a further demonstration of the commitment of the Management and Board to the underground exploration and ultimate re-development of the Prestea Mine.