Viking Mines has secured a licence to take water from the historic workings at its First Hit gold project, a significant step for its Eastern Goldfields strategy.

The licence to take was granted by the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), and permits Viking (ASX:VKA) to take up to 500,000 kilolitres of water from First Hit’s mine working per year.

Authorised activities for the extracted water under the licence include mine dewatering, dust suppression, road maintenance and exploration work.

It’s estimated that around 120,000 kilolitres of water are contained within the First Hit mine workings, which have naturally refilled to meet the water table at around 30m below surface since last mining in 2002.

That understanding is based on preliminary estimations of the volumes of the historic workings.

A series of LiDAR surveys were completed by Sensorem, which assessed accessible underground workings to review ground conditions, water level positions and provide accurate volumes of the voids.

As part of this work a vertical shaft connecting the underground workings was assessed to determine the potential to pump water from the mine.

A long section view to the west of the First Hit mine workings showing the vent raise location and the ground water level. Pic: supplied.

Today’s announcement is another step in the project advancement strategy for First Hit, Viking CEO Julian Woodcock said

“As part of our strategy to advance all aspects of the First Hit project concurrently, we have applied for and received our 5C licence to take water from the First Hit mine,” he said.

“We are now able to utilise the mine water for authorised activities and start the process to obtain a works approval, which is the next step to be able to dewater the First Hit mine and gain access to the workings.

“This retains optionality ahead of our results from our Phase 1 drilling program which is underway.”

Viking needs to clear the water from First Hit to access the workings and any potential remaining mineralisation, and to use the workings for potential deeper drilling.

The 5C approval is the first regulatory step which will allow it to do so. The licence comes with standard conditions to monitor water use and provide annual reporting to DWER.

A works approval will be required if Viking look to dewater the First Hit mine and plan to discharge the water into the natural environment.

Sensorem’s Hovermap drone system conducting the LiDAR survey of the First Hit mine workings. Pics: Supplied.

What’s next?

Viking has outlined a series of steps which will enable it to advance First Hit at a rapid pace in the event of positive exploration results from the Phase 1 drilling program.

These include:

  • Engaging an environmental consultant to advise on requirements to commence the works approval process;
  • Sampling the water from the underground workings for preliminary testing to determine water quality as part of baseline data collection for the works approval;
  • Constructing wireframes using historical mine survey data and Hovermap® LiDAR surveys to evaluate contained water volumes;
  • Engaging a plumbing contractor to design and quote for pumping infrastructure options, with tiered objectives for permitted water use and options to upgrade dewatering the mine if required, and;
  • Historical data searches to determine recharge rates for water inflow and water balance modelling, which will allow VKA to define pumping requirements to dewater the mine.

Viking’s First Hit project is located 150km northwest of Kalgoorlie, and centred around the historic high-grade First Hit gold mine situated along the prospective Ida and Zuleika Shear zones in the Eastern Goldfields.

The project incorporates around 28km2 of tenements, with six active mining and prospecting licences and one exploration licence under application. The historic mine is at the core of this landholding on a 6.4km2 group of tenements.

Prior to its closure by Barra Resources in 2002 and at a time of depressed gold prices of US$320/oz, First Hit produced around 30,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 7.7 grams per tonne.

No modern exploration activity had been conducted on the project for the 18 years prior to Viking’s acquisition at the end of January.

Historic drilling of the mine delivered assays including:

  • 4.9m at 64.8g/t Au from 62.1m (FHU045)
  • 3m at 77.6g/t Au from 224.0m (BFH030)
  • 4m at 26.1g/t Au from 58.0m (BFH005)

Importantly, First Hit is well served by infrastructure and located 50km west of the sealed Goldfields highway and the township of Menzies.

The nearest operating gold processing plant is the Davyhurst Mill 50km to the south, which is owned and operated by Ora Banda Mining (ASX:OBM).

OBM also owns the nearest operating gold mine – the Riverina open pit 8km to the south of First Hit.



This article was developed in collaboration with Viking Mines, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.