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Fourth consecutive free cash quarter builds Westgold bank

Updated: May 2

Westgold Resources produced more than 59,000 gold ounces for the December quarter. Credit: File

Westgold Resources has recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of positive cash build, lifting its cash, bullion and liquid assets by $21 million to close the first half of the financial year with $238 million in the bank.

The company produced 59,238 gold ounces from its operations during the December quarter and sold its gold at a remarkable average price of $3041 per ounce. Management says the company remains debt free, unhedged and on track to deliver its financial year production guidance of between 245,000 and 265,000 ounces.

Westgold finished the previous financial year with a flourish by reaching the upper echelon of its production guidance to produce 257,116 ounces of gold. The debt-free company set a production guidance target of between 240,000 and 260,000 gold ounces for the financial year, with a record output from its Bluebird mill at Meekatharra in Western Australia helping it to reach its goal.

During the recent September quarter, the company added $25 million in cash, bullion and liquid assets to its books to close with $217 million. According to its September quarterly report, the company produced 63,104 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1935 per ounce, while realising an average gold price of $2888 during the three-month period.

Westgold sold a total of 62,120 ounces of gold for the September quarter to generate $179 million in revenue. With the achieved gold price coming in at $953 per ounce above the AISC, the company’s operations delivered $60 million in mine operating cashflow.

We continued our cash build and added $21M to Westgold’s treasury. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of positive cash build and takes our closing cash and bullion to $238M for the half year. In what was a challenging quarter, these results depict the inherent operational flexibility Westgold has within its portfolio of assets. Westgold Resources managing director Wayne Bramwell

Bramwell said weaker outputs from Paddy’s Flat at Meekatharra, the company’s smallest mine, were offset by stronger outputs from its “resurgent” Starlight underground mine at Bryah.

Late last year, the gold producer extended the life of its Big Bell underground mine near the WA town of Cue to 16 years after the board approved an expanded new model for the operation. Management says the expanded mine will provide baseload feed for the Tuckabianna and Bluebird processing hubs, while its ore will be supplemented with high-grade product from the Bluebird and Great Fingall mines.

The company expects to extract 15.7 million tonnes of ore from the upgraded mine for 1.5 million gold ounces, while grades are predicted to lift from 2.5g/t gold to 3g/t. First ore is set for the first half of the 2025 financial year.

Westgold is currently working on a $25 million exploration program on the back of increasing its combined mineral resource by 311,000 ounces last year. Drilling will continue across the entire Bryah package, with the first target in Starlight approved for initial drill-testing this month.

Late last year, an operational reset at its Starlight deposit in WA’s Mid West region paid big dividends with more gold ounces than expected and grade-control drilling recording an extraordinary 10.1m hit at a whopping 443.74g/t.

The company says the update from its Bryah operation shows a 4 per cent increase in reconciled gold ounces and a 127 per cent jump for its mine cashflow. The headline gold hit from its Nightfall orebody also includes a 0.27m intercept registering an astounding 16,031g/t gold.

Management believes Nightfall presents as a significant opportunity to leverage the existing capital, with more than 200 vertical metres of the orebody already capitally developed. Nightfall, as an extension to existing Starlight levels, is expected to provide an incremental increase to current mine production levels.

It appears there will be plenty more gold lining for Westgold in 2024.

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