Castlemaine Goldfields has begun underground mine development at its Ballarat Gold Project in Australia with the first development blast.

Pybar Mining Services will provide mine development services for the Ballarat project to extend the existing underground decline to provide access to multiple quartz reefs within the mine.

The development includes the extension of the existing Woah Hawp decline, already completed to a depth of 500m below surface, to access the identified mineralisation in the Lower Llanberris compartment.

The decline will access identified quartz reefs and link back up with the development in the Llanberris compartment.

Castlemaine Gold managing director Matthew Gill said the first mill feed to the Ballarat mill will be mined in the third quarter of this year, with gold bullion to be poured at that time.