Australian miner Norton Gold Fields has opened the A$13m Homestead underground mine near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Production at the high-grade mine, scheduled to begin this year, is expected to boost operations at the nearby Paddington mill to approximately 200,000oz and reduce unit costs.

About 60 jobs will be created.

The site is expected to deliver 6 g/t mill feed grade of high-grade ore body, accessed through a twin decline 1,300m from a portal in the depleted Quarters open cut mine, the company said.

The mine opening is a major step in the start of exploration at the Mount Pleasant Gold Camp, which is expected to deliver 50,000oz a year on top of the 150,000oz base load open cut operations at Paddington.

Norton said it will use existing infrastructure and assets acquired from a recently closed mine, bringing down the total cash costs to less than A$600 an ounce.