Wiluna Mining climbs into seventh place with much bigger gold inventory
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Special Report: Wiluna Mining has boosted the resource at its namesake gold mine to 7.3 million oz, making it the seventh largest gold district under single ownership in Australia.
Wiluna Mining (ASX:WMX) has expanded the resource at the Wiluna operation to between 143 million tonnes at 1.6 grams per tonne (g/t) for 7.3 million ounces of contained gold and 71 million tonnes at 2.2g/t for 5 million oz of contained gold depending on the cut-off grade used.
Using a 1g/t cut-off grade gives Wiluna an expanded resource of 53 million tonnes at 3g/t for 5.1 million oz of contained gold, which is a 9 per cent increase for the year.
This ranks it as the seventh largest JORC-compliant gold district under single ownership in Australia, Wiluna says.
It also ranks the standalone Wiluna Mining Centre resource in the top 11 Australian gold deposits and compares favourably with Northern Star’s (ASX:NST) nearby Jundee mine, which hosts a resource of 55.2 million tonnes at 3g/t for 5.3 million oz of contained gold.
Wiluna controls over 1,600sqkm of the highly fertile Yilgarn Craton in the Northern Goldfields of WA.
The centuries old Yilgarn Craton has a historic and current gold endowment of over 380 million oz, making it one of most prolific gold regions in the world.
“One of our goals has been to define the scale of the geology at Wiluna,” executive chair Milan Jerkovic said.
“We are now in the top seven gold deposits in Australia based on JORC mineral resources, and the Wiluna Mining Centre, which will be the focus of our staged sulphide development, is rated the 11th largest gold deposit on its own, with an almost identical size and grade as Jundee.
“We believe we can eventually end up as one of the largest gold deposits in Australia and become a Tier 1 gold mine in a Tier 1 jurisdiction.”
The Wiluna Mining Centre gold system has a currently defined endowment, including past production and current resources, of about 10,000 ounces per vertical metre.
Further shallow discovery drilling is expected to increase this in the top 600m of the deposit.
Jerkovic said the resource update was the result of an extensive technical overhaul of the historical resources and the inclusion of drilling Wiluna Mining had done as part of its staged sulphide development strategy.
“The methodical consolidation of our data and mineral resource estimation process has been an enormous undertaking, however, the standardisation of this process will deliver significant benefits to the company as it underpins our sulphide development strategy,” he said.
Aggressive gold production expansion strategy
Wiluna is aggressively pursuing production expansion as part of its turnaround strategy.
The company currently has four drill rigs going full throttle on the ground at its Wiluna Mining Centre.
Wiluna expects to deliver more resource updates as drilling of the large system continues. The company estimates discovery and growth expenditure will amount to around $30m in FY2021.
The goal is to build out the mining inventory to support a new sulphide concentrator, scheduled to start production in September next year to boost annual production to 120,000oz.
The current underground sulphide resource at Wiluna averages 4.8g/t but historically the average grade mined was around 7-8g/t.
According to Wiluna, 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.
“The inclusion of the recent drilling into the data set will also allow us to move forward with confidence into the reserve estimation process,” Jerkovic said.
“Our outstanding results from drilling ‘under the headframe’ have greatly assisted us in reaching a new mineral resource that gives us far greater confidence in what we really have at Wiluna.
“The consistency of the results supports our belief that we can deliver into our sulphide strategy with great confidence as we continue to identify shallow high-grade resource development targets.”
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.