Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX) continues to get encouraging exploration results from its flagship Big Bell mine in WA as it ponders whether to expand downward or outward.
The company said that drilling results from the deeper mine expansion area has exceeded modelled expectations – “drilling grades reported in December Quarterly Report (released 24 January 2023) exceed current reported Mineral Resource Estimate (refer ASX – 2022 Resources and Reserve Statement September 2022).”
Westgold also said the pre-feasibility study into Big Bell Deeps expansion continues ti advance with “initial stress modelling and mining cost assumption review completed by independent consultancy (that) validates Westgold Scoping Study outputs.”
Westgold reported that the Big Bell mine was exceeding design outputs. In January, the mine processed 100,700 of ore at 2.61g/t gold, yielding 8,447 ounces (oz) of gold. Big Bell produced 7,895 oz of gold in February.
The company told the ASX that drilling at the mine to examine the proposed expansion area, had yielded favourable results, with some holes exceeding mineral resource estimates.
The drilling activity is being conducted for a final investment decision for the expansion
Westgold CEO Wayne Bramwell said the Big Bell Deeps project is the next step in increasing output.
“Big Bell is the engine room of our business and continues to operate above its 800–900,000 per annum a design levels,” he said.
“Development of the Big Bell Deeps area is the next stage of its expansion towards 1.3–1.4-million-tonnes-per-annum level and can be undertaken with our existing mining fleet.
“The existing sub-level cave operation has circa seven years of mine life grade control drilled ahead of it, and the expansion study looks to enhance Big Bell’s economics and potentially extend mine life for another 10 years.
“The drilling beneath the cave is very encouraging, with recent results exceeding our expectations. Drilling continues as our team advances the expansion study with the results on track for Board review later this year.”
Westgold last month reported similar success at its Bluebird gold mine in WA. New high-grade intercepts were received from several key zones in the Meekatharra mine, a development Westgold labelled “a game-changer”.
While the shares faded by 1.8% on Wednesday after gold fell on Tuesday in New York, they are still up 16% in the past five days.
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