Sandfire Resources have carried out maiden blasting for the excavation of the box-cut to establish portal entrance.
These first blasts for the ‘Evans Decline’ of the Doolgunna Project’s DeGrussa deposit are part of the decline development which will continue for the next 18 months.
The miner predicts that ore drive development at the copper-gold project will start in the first quarter of next year, with the first stope to come on stream by the last quarter of 2012.
Underground operation will ramp up to the full 1.5 million tonnes per annum production rate by the second quarter of 2013.
The waste pre-stripping of the open pit has also begun to provide initial ore for the DeGrussa concentrator as well as direct shipping ore for sale.
Camp construction has seen accommodation built for 150, with additional structures to accommodate 250 expected by the middle of this year.
Sandfire’s managing director, Karl Simich, said this blast is a major milestone for the miner, adding that “it is hard to believe that just two years ago we received the first indications of a significant discovery at DeGrussa during a small RC drilling campaign targeting oxide gold mineralisation.
Simich went on to say that this development will put the miner on track to produce first copper at the site within three years of its initial discovery.
Ssandfire has been previously recognised for its work at DeGrussa, winning the Explorer of the Year award at the 2010 Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
The deposit is located south-west of Meekatharra in Western Australia.