Australia-based Westgold Resources has received board approval for the expansion of its Big Bell gold project in Cue, Western Australia. The expansion involves implementing a new long hole open stopping (LHOS) operation beneath the existing sub-level cave. Located 25km west of Cue and 50km from Westgold Resources’ Tuckabianna processing hub, the gold mine has a history of producing approximately three million ounces of gold at a rate exceeding 4,000oz per vertical meter.
The Big Bell LHOS is expected to extend the base load feed for an initial period of 16 years by tapping into the deeper extensions of the Big Bell orebody without affecting productivity from the existing sub-level cave operation. Ore production from the LHOS is anticipated to begin in the first half of FY 2025.
The expanded Big Bell gold mine is projected to have an average annual gold production of 93,000oz over its mine life, with a peak annual production rate of 134,000oz in 2030. Westgold Resources sees this expansion as a strategic move that underwrites the future of its Murchison operations and provides further optionality to leverage existing processing capital.
Wayne Bramwell, Managing Director of Westgold Resources, stated that the economics of expanding their largest mine are compelling. The Big Bell mine is crucial to Westgold Resources’ Murchison operations, providing the ore tonnage needed for the Tuckabianna mill, with surplus feed processed at the Bluebird mill. The expansion aligns with the company’s strategy to ensure a stable feed for processing hubs over an extended mine life.