ON THE ROAD: Barto Gold Mining has room for 60 per cent increase in capacity following the commissioning of a $25million crusher.
A confidence play based on historic yields and good science saw the company invest in both the run-of-mine and exploration at the same time from early 2020.
The Barto mine site, part of the Minjar Gold stable, is located in Western Australia’s picturesque wheatbelt about 375 kilometres east of Perth near the town of Southern Cross.
The mine had a hundred-year gold mining legacy before Barto last year invested $25 million into intensive exploration and another $25 million installing the new crusher under the stewardship of general manager Guy Simpson.
The company is processing around 100,000 ounces currently and is on track to spend another $20 million in exploration in 2021 to help meet the future 2.7 million tonnes per annum name plate capacity of the new crusher and processing facility, Simpson said.
“New mining reserves have been identified in both historic and greenfields sites across the 1100 square kilometre Barto Mine lease,” he said.
“Following exploration success, we identified a series of new open-pittable ore reserves to the north and to the south of the existing processing plant.
“The first of those is a series of four open pits at the Glendower complex, about approximately 20 kilometres to the north of the plant.
“We commenced mining at Glendower about two and a half months ago once we got all the approvals in place.
“We also identified a relatively greenfields resource called Windmills, which is a very nice ore body with a lot of potential at that depth and a lot of strike extension as well.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg and we’re going to start mining that in Q1/Q2 of next year.”
The qualified investment gamble meant the new resources could be exploited quicker than would otherwise be the case and Simpson projects the investment being paid off in under three years.
Simpson paid tribute to the vision of the company and staff and contractors who jointly stared down challenges of COVID-19, a challenging employee market and an increased regulatory burden in executing the project.
“We’re not a large organisation,” Simpson continued.
“People have more of a sense of being part of our business, there’s a lot more flexibility in their employment.
“We’re fairly fleet of foot.
“We don’t operate under a laborious approvals process and our staff like the variability that they get in the operation here.
“So, it’s important to us to make this operation the place to be.
“The location as it is, it’s in a really nice part of WA surrounded by forest and wheatfields.
“We have great accommodation and excellent catering only a 50 minute flight from Perth.
“We generate quite a lot of employment for the locals and the small businesses around town, so it’s almost like a niche operation in that it’s not big and it’s more family-oriented.”
Barto Gold was looking at a 40 per cent increase in personnel to around 280 people in the medium term while taking milling to around 2 million tonnes per annum Simpson said.
Paid advertorial. Wally Graham travelled to the opening of the Barto Mine Crusher as a guest of Minjar Gold.