Westgold powers through weather challenges

The Meekatharra gold operations. Image: Westgold Resources Westgold Resources remains…

The Meekatharra gold operations. Image: Westgold Resources

Westgold Resources remains on track to deliver its production and cost guidance for the 2023–24 financial year (FY24), despite weather challenges impacting production.

The gold miner’s Murchison and Bryah operations suffered lost time due to intermittent yet heavy rainfall across Western Australia.

Flooding impacted surface and underground haulage and the processing of wet and sticky ore constrained mill throughputs and increased the reliance on low-grade surface stocks.

Wet feed was also a contributing factor to crusher failures at the Fortnum processing hub and Tuckabianna mill.

However, crusher repairs at both mills are now complete and both mills have returned to processing at capacity and are expected to commence building crushed ore stocks.

Despite recent production setbacks, Westgold’s FY24 production guidance will remain 245,000–265,000 ounces (oz) at $1800–$2000/oz.

“It has been a challenging period for our teams in the Murchison and Bryah operations, who have responded quickly to weather and operational challenges and safely got our processing plants back up and running,” Westgold managing director and chief executive officer Wayne Bramwell said.

Despite Westgold ceasing operations at its Paddy’s Flat underground mine, it has delivered “exceptional drilling results” at the Starlight underground mine.

The drilling has extended the Nightfall lodes, which are the continuation of the Starlight lodes to the north. Westgold said the Nightfall lodes exhibit “exceptional grade and a high level of grade variability”.

Results extending the Nightfall lodes include:

  • 39m at 7.05 grams per tonne of gold (g/t Au) from 272m in NF1130RD11
  • 65m at 10.37g/t Au from 145.35m in NF1125RD12
  • 5m at 64.53g/t Au from 111.5m in NF1125RD03

“Westgold’s investment in drilling across our mines continues to bear fruit at Starlight,” Bramwell said.

“Our high-grade nightfall lode continues to expand, with our geology team expecting further mineral resource growth over the coming quarters. Key to our resource development success is Westgold’s drilling division.

“Our inhouse capability continues to expand with the purchase of six state of the art underground drill rigs, taking our drill fleet to 13 and reducing our need for contractor support across the group.”

Westgold has subsequently mined more than 266,000oz from Starlight.

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