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More high-grade gold hits for Westgold at Bryah

Westgold Resources’ Nightfall gold lode will be mined from the top down and bottom up. Credit: File

Westgold Resources has revealed a suite of new high-grade gold drill hits from its Bryah operations near Meekatharra in Western Australia, extending its mineralisation envelope north from the main orebody.

At a time when gold prices are surging globally to all-time highs, the company’s latest results show as much as 16.39m at 7.05 grams per tonne from 272m, 9.65m at 10.37g/t from 145.35m and 3.5m at 64.53g/t from 111.5m. The exceptional intercepts are from its Nightfall lode, which is a continuation of the Starlight lodes to the north that provide the majority of the feed source for Westgold’s Fortnum processing hub.

Management says it has made the strategic decision to mine Nightfall concurrently from the top down and the bottom up in a move that it expects to provide increased profitability for the operation.

The lode is currently being mined from the top down at the operation’s 1160 level and the completion of the Starlight 890 link, which is expected in quarter four this year, will connect the current deeper decline at Starlight to the lower extensions of Nightfall. Management says the link will allow the mining of Nightfall from the bottom up, in parallel with an increase in the Nightfall top-down mining rate.

This is an incredible time to be an unhedged, Australian gold producer. With a clear focus on enhancing mine life and shareholder value we continue to invest drill metres at Starlight, are advancing a significant surface and underground resource definition drilling campaign at Bluebird-South Junction and are concurrently testing an early production opportunity at Great Fingall.
Westgold managing director and chief executive officer Wayne Bramwell

Bramwell said that with Nightfall continuing to expand, the company expected further mineral resource growth would soon follow.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Westgold. The company says heavy rainfall at its Murchison and Bryah operations created wet and sticky ore that contributed to crusher failures that lasted six days at its Fortnum hub and nine days at Tuckabianna. Management says repairs are now complete and that crushers are operating at capacity and are expected to start building crushed ore stockpiles.

The crusher downtime combined with the cessation of underground mining at the company’s Paddy’s flat deposit this quarter resulted in a decrease in gold total production. But management says it remains on track to deliver its production and cost guidance for this financial year of between 245,000 and 265,000 ounces at $1800 to $2000 per ounce.

Westgold has also taken the opportunity to expand its in-house underground drilling capability with the addition of six mobile drill drills to its fleet, bringing the total number of machines to 13. Management says the move will reduce costly reliance upon third-party contractors and give it operational flexibility.

On the exploration front, the company is taking aim at a $25 million exploration program on the back of increasing its combined mineral resource by 311,000 ounces last year – a feat that it is hoping to replicate again this year.

And with the type of results that are coming out of Starlight, that exploration spend may well pay off with ultra-high grade gold shining through within reach of existing mining operations.

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