Emerging gold play Gascoyne Resources is on track to begin mining early next year at its flagship Dalgaranga gold project after awarding NRW Holdings preferred mining contractor.

The $300 million contract is for open pit mining, including drilling and blasting of four pits over a six-year period. NRW will initially have 160 workers on site rising to 200 workers.

Dalgaranga has an initial mine life of 6 years, producing an average of around 100,000 ounces per annum at a cost of around A$1,000/oz.

Gascoyne (ASX:GCY) believes there is significant potential to extend the mine’s life through nearby discoveries such as the recent Sly Fox discovery.

Gascoyne’s Managing Director Mike Dunbar said NRW (ASX:NWH) had key personnel and equipment available now, ensuring the company would meet a March 2018 deadline to start work.

Gascoyne, which listed back in 2009, acquired Dalgaranga and surrounding exploration tenements from private tenement holders back in 2012.

Dalgaranga lies 70km by road northwest of Mt Magnet in the Murchison gold mining region of Western Australia and covers most the Dalgaranga greenstone belt.

The Company’s projects contain some 2.3 million ounces of gold in total.

Gascoyne shares fell 2 per cent to 48.5c on Thursday while NRW was trading 3 per cent higher at $1.20.