Blackham’s ‘free-milling’ Golden Age is living up to its name
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Special Report: Blackham’s seven-rig drilling attack at the high-grade Golden Age prospect keeps on turning up the gold.
Drilling at the ‘free-milling’ Golden Age prospect, part of the Wiluna operation in Western Australia, has delivered grades of up to nearly 40 grams per tonne (g/t).
The latest top results include 1.8m at 39.68g/t from 47.3m, 2.6m at 21.74g/t from 49.1m and 7.1m at 7.47g/t from 185.9m, including 2.7m at 17.32g/t.
The beauty of free milling gold is that it requires only simple crushing and no roasting or chemical treatment, meaning the cost is much lower. And at the current high Aussie dollar gold price, that equates to a better margin for Blackham and more cash in the company’s pocket.
Blackham says the Golden Age high-grade ore supplements the baseload free-milling open pits and is an important source of transitional cashflow for the next 18 months whilst the company transitions to sulphide production.
And Blackham isn’t doing things by halves – it has seven drill rigs spinning right now.
“While the company is focused on optimising the mine plan around our large Wiluna sulphide resource and transitioning to gold concentrate production, these results also deliver on our parallel free-milling strategy,” executive chairman Milan Jerkovic said.
“We aim to extend the high-grade Golden Age orebody to sustain or increase production and improve transitional cashflow over the next 12-18 months ahead of sulphides production from September 2021.”
Blackham is working hard to build out its mining inventory to support a new sulphide concentrator, scheduled to start production in September next year to boost annual production to 110,000-120,000oz.
Wiluna is already a large gold system with over 10 million ounces of gold endowment including current resources and historical production.
It currently hosts a combined open pit and underground resource of 35.5 million tonnes at 3.9g/t for 4.45 million ounces of contained gold.
And these new drilling results prove there is still plenty of gold left to find.
The latest results are from a further 17 holes for 2,947m drilled at Golden Age to test extension targets between the 850 and 600 levels at the underground mine.
The underground mining operations continue to deliver with production in the March quarter of 2,710oz from the Golden Age Footwall and the main Golden Age zone.
Blackham is continuing to evaluate the drilling results to complete detailed mine planning and optimisation of Golden Age production.
Jerkovic says Blackham is also drilling at the Williamson and Regent free-milling deposits, which have the potential to provide substantial baseload mill feed during the transition to, and potentially alongside, stage one sulphides production.
Blackham recently completed a resource infill program of eight holes for 1,520m at the Williamson open pit.
The goal is to increase the geological confidence of the inferred resource that is located adjacent to the pit cutback currently in progress to further extend the Williamson reserve and mine life.
Williamson currently hosts a probable reserve of 1.05 million tonnes at 1.6g/t for 53,000oz of gold.
Blackham says the continued pre-stripping at the Williamson pit cutback has given the company access to baseload mill feed for the next 18 months.