Blackham Resources has completed the preliminary expansion study on its 100%-owned Matilda/Wiluna Gold operation.

The study revealed that a staged expansion would give Blackham the flexibility to treat both oxide and sulphide ores.

It also indicated a lower risk staged approach to development and CAPEX over an 18-month period that will increase gold production to more than 200,000oz per annum. 

The expansion would be carried out in two stages, comprising 2A that covers renovation of the current sulphide treatment plant and construction of a new float and carbon in leach (CIL) circuits, while 2B involves construction of a new crushing and grinding circuit to increase throughput by approximately 1.5Mtpa. 

Blackham managing director Bryan Dixon said: “The Wiluna Expansion Plan aims to achieve a step change in gold production from the 6.4Moz resource at the Matilda/Wiluna Operation.

“The preliminary expansion study has confirmed gold production of 200,000ozpa is achievable on a very capital efficient basis and is likely to be a long mine life. 

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"The preliminary expansion study has confirmed gold production of 200,000oz per annum is achievable on a very capital efficient basis and is likely to be a long mine life."

“By undertaking a staged development approach the company expects to maintain a strong balance sheet during stage 2A refurbishment and construction plus on the completion of Stage 2B run the sulphide and oxide circuits in parallel providing one of Western Australian’s most flexible gold processing facilities.”

The Matilda/Wiluna Gold operation is located in Australia’s largest gold belt, which stretches from Norseman to Wiluna.

Restarted in 2016, the operation comprises a 1.7Mtpa gold plant, 17MW new gas and diesel power stations, 300 person camp, borefields, and underground infrastructure. 

According to Blackham, results of the study are expected to be positive and will help in advancing the expansion feasibility study.

During the feasibility study, the company will examine its options and flexibility as to how the Matilda/Wiluna Gold Operation can be expanded.