Special Report: Wiluna continues to unearth the true scale of its namesake gold project in Western Australia with drilling returning both high-grade hits and bulk drilling intercepts.

Further high-grade hits such as 4m at 17.47 grams per tonne (g/t) gold serves to grow and add geological confidence in the very large sulphide resource at the Wiluna Mining Centre while bulk intercepts like 118m at 1.46g/t gold demonstrate potential for a very large, lower grade mineralised system that could be bulk mined.

Wiluna Mining (ASX:WMX) noted the results support both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 expansions plans, the first of which is envisioned as a low-cost pathway towards increasing gold production to between 100,000 and 120,000 oz per annum from September 2021.

The second will see production increase to +250,000oz per annum and is proposed to start in late 2023 or early 2024.

“More outstanding results from drilling ‘under the headframe’ means that our confidence level for delivering our Stage 1 sulphide strategy is now extremely high. The drilling continues to define Wiluna as one of the largest under-developed gold systems in Australia,” executive chairman Milan Jerkovic said.

“The outstanding results provide confidence in our mineral resource and reserve estimates as we release them on a rolling basis from September 2020 through to December 2020 and into next year.

“The sheer volume of data we now must evaluate is significant and the potential for the scale of the gold system at the Wiluna mining centre is extremely exciting. We do believe the drilling results show that now we have awoken the sleeping giant, the giant is starting to stir!”

Map of the Wiluna Mining Centre and planned Stage 1 sulphide expansion mining areas Pic: Supplied


Higher grade equals more gold production

Jerkovic added that one of the most exciting elements from the recent drilling is that the high-grade results increase confidence that the grade for the Stage 1 expansion will be higher than the current resource grade of 4.7g/t gold.

The company previously noted that every 1g/t increase in the grade could deliver an additional 25,000oz per annum of production in stage one and 50,000oz per annum under the company’s stage-two scenario.

With gold prices trading just above $US1,900 ($2,635), this will translate into better economics while also allowing lower grade material to be mined.

“It is important that we emphasise our current operation, until the commencement of Stage 1 concentrate production in September 2021, is purely to provide valuable operating cashflow to assist in funding this transition to Stage 1 and producing gold concentrates to achieve our goal to become a Tier 1 gold mine in a Tier 1 jurisdiction,” he noted.

Calvert long section showing high-grade results infilling the Inferred Resource area at the WIluna mining centre Pic: Supplied


Recent gold drilling results

The most recent drilling at Wiluna has returned some notable high-grade hits with one hole returning intercepts of 4m at 17.47g/t gold, 4m at 5.73g/t gold and 4m at 6.76g/t gold within a broad halo of 118m at 1.46g/t gold.

Results above 5g/t gold are generally considered to be high-grade.

Other significant hits include 8m at 7.17g/t gold and 5m at 6.37g/t gold within a 40m intercept grading 3.09g/t gold, 19.56g/t gold within a broader 44m zone at 2.92g/t gold and 5.85m at 10.16g/t gold.

Drilling is aimed at increasing the confidence in sulphide resources from inferred to the higher confidence indicated category, which features sufficient confidence in geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

This will underpin the Stage 1 reserve estimation.

Other objectives for the drilling program include adding reserve ounces in high-grade, shallow zones, close to existing mine development that can be rapidly brought into production at low cost; and finding new high-grade shoots that will increase both gold ounces and grade.


Future plans

Wiluna is planning future drilling to build on these results and will provide an update on its accelerated resource and reserve development program for the rest of the 2021 financial year in November.

It noted that with the amount of data generated through the current drilling, it is expected that there will be further updates to its resources and reserves in the first half of 2021.

The company added that its ongoing drilling program has five new objectives that differ from those of drilling to date.

These are to increase sulphide reserves at Wiluna for the Stage 1 expansion; increase sulphide reserves for the Stage 2 expansion; make a new discovery in the wider Wiluna mining operations; reveal the true scale of Wiluna sulphide resources; and extend the free milling resources and reserves.

This article was developed in collaboration with Wiluna Mining, 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.