Red 5 has awarded a contract to mining services contractor Redpath Australia to develop the Darlot underground gold mine in Western Australia.

The contract, which has an initial value of $9.4m (A$13m), cover a 12-month period and includes the option to extend at six-monthly intervals.

As part of the contract work, Redpath has mobilised equipment. It will undertake three km of rapid underground mine development to provide access to new mine areas in Burswood, Pedersen, Middle Waters South and Thompson.

The work is consistent with the revised Darlot Mine Plan and King of the Hills (KOTH) Processing Hub Strategy announced in August.

The strategy is part of the firm’s plans to transition the Darlot underground mine into an additional medium-term, high-grade feed source for the new King of the Hills processing plant.

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By GlobalData

In August, Red 5 managing director Mark Williams said: “Darlot has until now served as a central processing facility under our ‘Truck-to-Darlot’ strategy but, with the impending completion of the new state-of-the-art KOTH processing plant and its substantial latent capacity, we have a unique opportunity to treat other ore sources over and above those proposed in the KOTH mine plan.”

The firm expects first gold pour from the KOTH processing plant in the June 2022 quarter.

Red 5 expects the lower cost base of the KOTH Processing Hub could extend the operational life of the Darlot underground mine for several years.

According to Red 5, the Darlot mine has a mineral resource of 1.2 million ounces of gold.

Red 5’s wholly-owned subsidiary company, Darlot Mining Company, operates the Darlot Gold Mine, which is located approximately 900km north-east of Perth in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Meanwhile, in a separate development in Western Australia, Rio Tinto has committed to using local suppliers to build ore rail cars for its Pilbara mining operations.

The company will issue a tender to the local market for an initial purchase of 50 ore rail cars. This will be followed by a commitment of ten ore cars annually for the next five years.

The tender will be issued through the Rio Tinto Buy Local portal.