Dacian Gold has launched underground mining in the Westralia mine area at the Mt Morgans gold project in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.
The first cut of the Beresford portal has been taken from the base of the Westralia open pit, according to Dacian, which said the milestone marks the company’s transition from explorer/developer to miner.
The Beresford decline is focused on accessing the high-grade lodes at the southern end of the deposit, which is scheduled for November this year.
Dacian executive chairman Rohan Williams said starting underground mining at Beresford was a “very significant milestone” for the company.
“This is a tremendous result for the company, its shareholders and employees,” Williams said.
“We started as an exploration IPO just four-and-a-half years ago, and as a result of our exploration success, we are now firmly on the patch to becoming Australia’s next mid-tier gold producer.”
The company is fully funded to first gold production in March next year, Williams added.
Dacian last month announced plans to award an underground mining contract at Mt Morgans to RUC Cementation Mining.
The agreement involved underground development and production stoping from the Beresford and Allanson underground mines, which together comprise the Westralia mine area at Mt Morgans.
The contract involves the EPC of a 2.5 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) carbon-in-leach treatment facility. It also covers supporting infrastructure near the site’s Jupiter open pit, including the tailings storage facility, water supply infrastructure, workshops and offices, an administration complex, and construction of a haul road.
A feasibility study for Mt Morgans outlined initial ore reserves of 18.6Mtpa at two grams per tonne for 1.2 million ounces. Dacian forecasts an initial eight-year mine life with annual output of 186,000 ounces for the first four years.