THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Days before Blackham Resources (ASX: BLK) is due to present at the RIU Resources Roundup in Sydney, the company has announced the completion of a Preliminary Expansion Study on its 100 per cent-owned Matilda/Wiluna gold operation in Western Australia.
Blackham Resources explained the Preliminary Expansion Study assumes a staged expansion which would give the company flexibility to treat both oxide and sulphide ores.
It also provides a lower risk staged approach to development and capex over an 18 month period ramping up gold production to over 200,000 ounces per annum.
The Preliminary Expansion Study focused on the Wiluna Sulphides to assess it independently and as part of an integrated operation with the current free milling ores at Matilda and Wiluna.
It has been assumed the expanded operation would be developed in two Stages 2A and 2B.
On the completion of Stage 2B , Blackham envisages the treatment of free milling ore would recommence allowing the two processing facilities to run in parallel with total capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per annum.
It also allows the company to finance the expansion out of a combination of Stage 1 cash flow and a debt re-sizing.
Preliminary Expansion Study highlights, include:
Targeted Gold Production over nine years of 18 million tonnes at 2.7 grams per tonne gold for 1.31 million ounces of gold;
Open Pit Mining Inventory of 14 million tonnes at 2g/t gold for 890,000 ounces of gold;
Underground Mining Inventory of 4 million tonnes at 4.9g/t gold for 630,000 ounces of gold;
Stage 2A Capital costs of $24.9 million for circa 0.75 million tonnes per annum;
Stage 2B combined processing capacity of 3.2 million tonnes per annum for +200,000 ounces per annum; and
Life Of Mine – all in sustaining costs of 1,170 per ounce or US$870 per ounce.
“The Wiluna Expansion Plan aims to achieve a step change in gold production from the 6.4 million ounce resource at the Matilda/Wiluna operation,” Blackham Resources managing director Bryan Dixon said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The Preliminary Expansion Study has confirmed gold production of 200,000 ounces per annu is achievable on a very capital efficient basis and is likely to be a long mine life.
“By undertaking a staged development approach the company expects to maintain a strong balance sheet during stage 2A refurbishment and construction plus on the completion of Stage 2B run the sulphide and oxide circuits in parallel providing one of Western Australian’s most flexible gold processing facilities.”