Wiluna Mining Corporation has partnered with Byrnecut Australia in the development of the underground mine at the Wiluna Mining Complex in Western Australia.
The alliance will last over a period of five years and involve production mining services.
Both companies will integrate its resources in view of achieving a seamless ore production.
Wiluna has appointed Byrnecut to develop and mine the underground mine.
The former aims to process all its ore at the Wiluna mining operations and produce around 250,000 ounces a year.
Wiluna chair Milan Jerkovic said the company saw great synergies and efficiencies as well as cost and capital benefits through the alliance.
“It provides, with a degree of confidence, that the underground development and ongoing mining will be executed with the highest standard of efficiency, safety, timeliness and profitability,” he said.
“We look forward to working with Byrnecut to transitioning the Wiluna mine, once again, into one of Australia’s biggest and most profitable gold mines.”
The Wiluna mining centre was one of the largest gold mining operations in the British Empire during the 1930s, but was closed at the end of World War II before reopening in the 1980s.
Wiluna is now establishing the operation with a focus on sulphide mining due to the majority of its existing resource being sulphide ore.
The company has commenced a three-year, staged development plan that includes a 2.1 million tonnes a year carbon-in-leach process plant; gravity circuit; tailings treatment plant; and 750,000 tonnes a year flotation and concentrator.
Construction of the concentrator is due to start this month ahead of commissioning this October, scaling up to 1.5 million tonnes a year capacity by the 2024 financial year.
Wiluna intends its staged development plan to match the rate of the underground mining development.
The company also reported a 142 per cent increase in Wiluna’s underground ore reserve to 4.33 million tonnes at 4.74 grams per tonne for 661,000 ounces of contained gold.
Jerkovic said the upgrade was a result of 18 months of efforts to grow its resources and prepare for its transition to the production of gold in concentrate.
“This ore reserve is sufficient to support a (five-year-plus) operation at 750,000 tonnes a year stage one processing rates and provides a sound base upon which to further develop the mineral resources and ore reserves for the long life operation we expect Wiluna to be,” he said.
Wiluna is expected to have over 15 years of mine life.
The company plans to add a further 500,000 ounces to the ore reserve base for inclusion in the stage two feasibility study.