‘Freak storm’ halts Westgold operation

Flooding from the storm

Westgold Resources expects to lose about a week of production at its Central Murchison gold operation in Western Australia following a severe storm last weekend.

The company reported yesterday that the “freak storm” on Saturday night forced the temporary closure of the operation’s Bluebird Mill and created flooding within the Paddy’s Flat underground mine, the recently started Jack Ryan underground mine and nearby open pits.

According to Westgold, the rain event saw nearly 200mm of rain on the operations over a two- to three-hour period, creating flash flooding in the region.

The passing wall of water, often over one metre deep, drenched some electrical circuits and overflowed bunding that was designed to contain spills.

Westgold shut down the project and evacuated all mines without issue or any safety and risk issue.

Peter Cook, Westgold managing director, said it was yet another storm that had impacted the operations over the past month.

“This one, dumping a years annual rainfall in a few hours, will cause the operations to be impacted,” Cook said.

“While we should be up and running again relatively quickly, the net outcome may be loss of about one weeks production over the quarter.

“The company expects its annual production guidance to be around 300,000 ounces per annum.”

Cook said the storm had “little impact” in the Tuckabianna area and the company expected to commence dry commissioning of the Tuckabianna mill this week, well ahead of time and under budget.