As far as the deposits are concerned. Tell me where you think the money is made on a mine. Is it at startup, in the early stages of mining, or in the latter portion of the mine?
The start up of the project is very expensive whether it is u/g or open pit. At the beginning stages of open pit mining, the waste to ore ratio is always high, the money is made on the bottom half of the open pit. Essentially, Golden Band is de-risking as many projects as possible. Removing the high cost portion, overburden and high strip ratio, from the mines, exposing and confirming the ore zones to be where and what exploration drilling had indicated.
Looking back to the 2009 PFS:
The pre-production period of Roy Lloyd u/g was to produce 56,000 tonnes of waste and 14,400 tonnes of ore. But moving forward to year 1, it was expected capital development of decline and raises were to produce 42,000 tonnes of waste with 108,600 tonnes of ore at 14.73 g/t. Although we have no numbers on pre-production, we can look at the actual numbers from year 1 of 178,554 tonnes mined which included 98,500 tonnes of ore at 11.29 g/t and see they did a poor job of mining by diluting the ore zone. But my point is that irregardless, the major expenses of the u/g mine come from building the main decline access, ventilation shafts, etc.
Looking at Komis, although open pit development costs may be lower than u/g, the waste/ore strip ratio is much higher:
During the pre-production stages, the upper benches, an estimated 103 days, were estimated at 765,000 tonnes of waste and only 7,600 tonnes of ore. In year 1 of production, it was estimated Komis would produce 2.1M tonnes of waste and 124,000 tonnes of ore. Golden Band is certainly exceeding these expectations, removing only ~163,000 tonnes of waste in accessing ~24,000 tonnes of ore. Looking back at the PFS again, it should be noted, in year 3 of open pit mining, that production is expected to be 915,000 tonnes of waste and 224,000 tonnes of ore. Not only does the strip ratio, in the 2009 PFS, fall from 20:1 to 4:1 but the ore grade is expected to increase from 6.46 g/t to 7.13 g/t in the new mine plan. Granted, the production completed so far should still be considered pre-production and only now will we see if they are doing a good job of mining the deposit. As usual, they have planned to keep us in the dark as long as possible as it will take work to even decipher what is happening in the last two months of this quarter because of the November production of 17,681 tonnes @ 1.7 g/t fro Komis (I simply used the Dec 14 Komis NR production numbers and the Q2 MDA Komis production numbers to determine the numbers for November).
I hope this discussion was meaningful for you.