Wiluna goes ahead with Western Australia gold mine expansion

2.10.2020, 16:58 - eeppo

Australia’s Wiluna Mining (ASX: WMX) is moving forward with an A$81 million ($58m) stage-one sulphide expansion project at its namesake gold mine, which will increase production from about 62,000 ounces of gold a year to 100,000-120,000 ounces a year by late 2021.

The shift will be implemented using the current, recently refurbished crushing circuit, the previously expanded mill circuit and a new 750,000 tonne per annum concentrator, Wiluna said.

GR Engineering Services has been awarded the $25.7 million engineering, procurement and construction contract for stage one works, which will begin in early December.

Wiluna will fund the expansion via existing cash of about $15 million, operating cashflow and the $40 million tranche two of a debt package with Mercuria.

Second-stage under study

The Perth-based miner is also studying a stage two expansion that would boost production to about 250,000 ounces of gold a year by late 2023, or early 2024.

“The challenge now is to deliver on Stage 1 and scope out the optimum size for Stage 2, given the considerable size of the Wiluna orebody,” executive chairperson Milan Jerkovic said in the statement. “This will take shape in the feasibility study, which is currently being undertaken.”

Earlier this week, the company upgraded resources for Wiluna to 7.3 million ounces at 1.6 grams per tonne gold.

The Wiluna gold project is located in the North-Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia, about approximately 750 km northeast of Perth.

The company’s tenement package covers more than 1,600 square kilometres and 75km of strike across the metal-rich Wiluna-Norseman greenstone belt.

The main asset is the Wiluna mine itself, which has a gold producing history dating back to the early 20th century. Mining operations in the area have resulted in the production of more than 4 million ounces of gold to date.