Westgold Resources has made it out of a slow ramp up at the Big Bell operation in Western Australia amid commissioning of a new underground production fleet to reach higher production levels.
The company stated it is on track to output its 80,000-tonne-per-month target by the end of 2021.
Westgold acknowledged that an incident where a worker passed away on site last year had impacted its output into the March quarter of the 2021 financial year.
Big Bell’s quarterly output has increased from 110,000 tonnes in the September quarter of the 2021 financial year to an estimated 185,000 tonnes in the June quarter of the 2021 financial year.
According to Westgold, the ramp up has required strict sequencing protocol which has been difficult to manage.
“This requires an intensive ground support regime to manage the active cave front and stress releases which, coupled with some legacy issues with the old cave, resulted in slower yet steady progress to date,” Westgold stated.
“Westgold is now through this difficult phase, has commissioned its new underground production fleet and begun optimising in-mine production processes to sustain the long-term higher production rate of the mine.”
The 2.6-million-ounce Big Bell gold mine and 1.2-million-ounce Great Fingall mine are part of Westgold’s Cue Gold assets.
The company also operates the 1.3-million-tonne-per-annum Tuckbianna processing plant as part of its Cue Gold assets.
Westgold is targeting 100,000 to 110,000 ounces per annum from its Cue Gold assets, with most of the production derived from Big Bell.
Big Bell was previously operated by Harmony Gold who closed the operation in 2003 and was acquired by Westgold in 2011.