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Westgold primed for Mid West gold exploration blitz

Updated: May 2

Westgold Resources is planning both underground and surface exploration drilling this quarter. Credit: File

Westgold Resources is expanding its exploration campaign across its Mid West and Murchison assets, with 12 rigs operating on site this quarter after closing out last year with $238 million in cash and bullion.

According to its December quarterly report, the company is continuing to conduct an extensive resource drilling program to expand the footprint of its Bluebird underground gold mine and opportunities at South Junction, with surface rigs complementing an underground campaign.

Management believes South Junction has the potential to further lift Bluebird’s production rate to more than 500,000 tonnes per annum by becoming another mining front. The surface drill program will run in conjunction with underground campaigns in a bid to better define the South Junction opportunities, in addition to works to expedite the understanding of the Bluebird North mining area.

Recent results from near-mine exploration at Bluebird have shown impressive assays including 35.31m at 5.71 grams per tonne gold from 282m, in addition to 23.68m going 12.63g/t from 178m.

Management says it 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 at Starlight approved for initial drill-testing this month.

Paddy’s Flat will enter an operational pause and transition into an exploration phase to target the definition of a three to four-year optimised mine plan. During the exploration phase, key targets drill-tested will include the deeper Prohibition structure and known systems that have previously recorded high returns.

The company says a comprehensive drill plan has been developed for its Great Fingall project to help outline the shallow mining potential outside of its current mine plan. Drilling to support that strategy will kick off early this year as the mine opens up and suitable drill platforms become available.

Westgold has also completed a detailed gravity geophysical survey across the Norie region at Meekatharra and the Day Dawn region near Cue. The newly-defined gravity targets, both north-east and south-west of Great Fingall, are considered a high priority for further exploration.

During the December quarter, heritage surveys were completed across four target areas in preparation for proposed drilling including the Maylands, Norie, Duifken and South Junction Deeps targets at Meekatharra. The company is currently awaiting the survey reports before finalising the proposed drill campaigns.

Adding $21M to our treasury, whilst commencing the Great Fingall and Fender underground mines and continuing the investment in our people and exploration is a remarkable effort. Going forward it highlights the inherent optionality within Westgold’s portfolio whereby Paddy’s Flat can transition to an exploration phase and its production can be replaced by the new Fender mine coming online. Westgold Resources managing director Wayne Bramwell

Earlier this month, the company recorded its fourth consecutive quarter of positive cash build, lifting its cash, bullion and liquid assets by $21 million.

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. It 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.

The company says it has now energised all four of its hybrid power facilities across its operations, with its full 82MW of capacity installed. The fourth hybrid power station under Westgold’s CET Project was recently-commissioned at Bluebird and the first three facilities at Tuckabianna, Big Bell and Fortnum were progressively brought into operation between early August and October last year.

With its operating mines continuing to deliver and a slew of exciting exploration targets ripe for drilling, Westgold appears set to continue its successful close to 2023 into the new year.

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