Zinc miner makes a play for gold to boost production

NORTH Queensland base metals producer Red River Resources is turning to gold to try and boost earnings after reporting delays in the ramp up of a new mine.

The company operates the Thalanga operation about 200km southwest of Townsville and recently acquired the Hillgrove gold project in NSW.

This week the company reported high-grade gold results of up to 59.8 grams per tonne from the sampling of historic gold workings at New Homestead about 3km northeast of its Thalanga plant.

Red River managing director Mel Palancian said the sampling was part of a strategy to maximise gold production and take advantage of the high gold price.

"We have been producing base metals at Thalanga since 2017, however with a gold price that continues to strengthen, we want to ensure we are not missing opportunities to increase our profitability," Mr Palancian said.

The company engaged a consultant last October to review the gold potential of its tenements, identifying five targets for further work.

Thalanga consists of a 650,000 tonnes per annum processing plant and two underground mines producing copper, lead and zinc concentrates, which include gold and silver credits.

In the December quarter, zinc concentrate production was 3781 tonnes, down from 9057 tonnes in the June quarter, while lead concentrate produced was 876 tonnes, down from 3369 tonnes.

Copper concentrate production was 1560 tonnes, compared with 1806 tonnes in the June quarter.

The company said production was negatively impacted by delays in ramping up mining from its Far West mine, while its West 45 mine was expected to be placed into care and maintenance during the March quarter.

The company employs 68 people full-time at Thalanga, while the operation also supports 95 contractors working in exploration and mining.

The company's share is trading around 11c, down from 15c earlier this month.