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Westgold’s Big Bell set to ring true to its name

28th November 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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The Big Bell mine, near Cue, Western Australia, is set to get bigger, with Westgold Resources on Tuesday announcing board approval for an expansion project.

The Big Bell mine cornerstones Westgold’s Murchison operations, providing the bulk of the ore tonnage which feeds the Tuckabianna mill, with surplus feed being processed at the Bluebird mill.

“The economics of making our biggest mine bigger are compelling,” said MD Wayne Bramwell.

At a base case gold price of A$2 900/oz, Big Bell will generate an average of A$512/oz free cash flow and boast a net present value of A$313-million.

The base case for the expanded Big Bell envisages 15.7-million tonnes of ore production for 1.5-million ounces of gold. Mine grades will increase from 2.5 g/t to 3 g/t.

On average, Big Bell will produce 93 000 oz/y at an all-in cost of A$2 388/oz.

“Big Bell has a long and profitable life ahead of it now. This expansion underwrites the future of our Murchison operations and provides Westgold with further optionality to leverage our existing processing capital,” said Bramwell.

Big Bell will provide baseload feed for the Tuckabianna and Bluebird processing hubs across its planned 16-year mine life and its ore will be supplemented with high-grade, high-margin ores from the Bluebird mine at Meekatharra, and the recently announced Great Fingall mine, near Cue.

Longhole open stoping (LHOS) development will start immediately, with first ore from the LHOS operations set for the first half of the 2025 financial year.

“There are very few mines in the Australian gold sector that can boast a 16-year mine life. Big Bell has delivered nearly three-million ounces of gold production to date and with this expansion now approved, the mine is set to ring true to its name,” said Bramwell.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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