THE DRILL SERGEANT: Westgold Resources (ASX: WGX) has recommenced underground sub-level cave stoping at the Big Bell underground mine at the company’s Cue Gold Operations (CGO) in Western Australia.
Westgold Resources initiated the first mass cave blast on Monday, paving the way for a planned ramp up in mine output that targets steady-state production rates by the end of CY 2020.
Over the past three years, Westgold has progressively dewatered the Big Bell underground mine and rehabilitated historic access development to around 610 metres vertical depth.
All critical mine services including dewatering, surface infrastructure power reticulation, ventilation, pumping and emergency egress have been re-installed.
Access drives into all old mining areas have been also rehabilitated with new development extended to enable the extraction of remnant and new ore horizons.
“This is a major milestone for Westgold and a terrific achievement by our CGO team,” Westgold Resources executive chairman Peter Cook said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Big Bell has been idle and flooded since 2003 however before that it was one of the largest single mine gold producers in the Australian gold sector.
“After nearly three years of substantial capital reinvestment and hard toil, we are on the cusp of returning Big Bell to its former glory.
“Big Bell will become our largest single mine in the Murchison region and restarts with a 10-year mine life with excellent resource extension potential.
“Big Bell is key to Westgold’s plans as it represents the last critical piece in our Murchison strategy.
“Our dominant land position, three operating process plants, over nine million ounce resource base and our unique position as owner operator provides the strategic platform to underwrite more than 300,000 ounces of production per annum in the longer term.”