Australia

Blackham Resources set to increase production at Matilda-Wiluna Gold Mine

Blackham Resources Ltd (ASX:BLK) has sights set on increasing production at its Matilda–Wiluna Gold Operation in Western Australias northern Goldfields.

The project lies within the Wiluna Domain, one of the three largest gold systems in the region about 530 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.

All three of these systems are controlled by ASX-listed gold companies including Northern Star Resources Ltds (ASX:NST) Jundee and Bronzewing belt to the east and Westgold Resources Ltds (ASX:WGX) Meekatharra belt to the west.

The operation comprises more than 1,600 square kilometres of tenements and has resources of 93.2 million tonnes at 2.1 g/t containing 6.4 million ounces (57% of which is indicated) and inclusive of reserves of 24.7 million tonnes at 1.7 g/t for 1.4 million ounces with a plus-10 year mine life.

Executive chairman Milan Jerkovic told Proactive that from a strategic point of the view, the companys five core objectives included:

  • Repair the balance sheet;
  • Maintain and increase immediate operational cashflow;
  • Transition to gold concentrate production;
  • Expand gold production; and
  • Undertake exploration and feasibility to fully develop a more than 250,000 ounce per annum long-life gold operation.

He said that with the completion of the capital raising due shortly, strategies two to five were now the main priority.

“These strategies were established 10 months ago when I changed out the old management and set a new direction for the company.

“I established a 24-month timetable for this transformation, and we are 10 months into it and so far, we are on track.”

Targeting more than 250,000 ounces

Blackhams goal is to annually produce more than 250,000 ounces with the option to process both styles of free-milling and sulphide mineralisation often seen within the same deposit.

To deliver this operating strategy and take advantage of the existing infrastructure, the company has intended to apply capital in a two-staged approach.

The first step, which comprised a $52 million capital raising, included securing the funding to execute stage-I of the expansion plan.

This step is intended to increase annual production to a level of around 100,000–120,000 ounces.

“Terrific achievement” raising funds

Jerkovic said it had been an interesting time for the company deciding to raise $52 million in the current market climate, which was roughly the same amount as its market capitalisation at the time of the announcement in February.

“It has been a terrific achievement raising these funds in the worst two months the ASX has had since 1987.

“We are fortunate to have a greatly supportive major shareholder in Wilhelm Zours of Delphi who has backed us to the hilt in the last eight months.

“Zours is smart and has done his homework – been to site, spoken to our management team and has decided to back assets at Blackham when very view people would.

“We were also fortunate to have a backer like Simon Catt and his team at Arlington who have worked hard, introduced a number of tier-1 calibre of shareholders to the register and committed over $2 million of their own money which is extremely rare from modern-day brokers.”

With the resource to reserve conversion drilling having commenced, along with the tailings dam construction and the underground de-watering of the Wiluna mines, Jerkovic said the construction of the concentrator would be assessed according to how quickly the company ccould mobilise crews and equipment to site when the COVID-19 pandemic concluded.

While the final rate of annual gold production is set to be released in the feasibility study, he said the company hoped to double production to 1.5 million tonnes, which would equate to between 220,000 ounces and 250,000 ounces once stage II had been completed.

"Largest single-site undeveloped gold project”

“Wiluna is, in my opinion, the largest single-site undeveloped gold project in Western Australia.

“We have not even explored the underground sulphides below 500 metres which compared with peers like Jundee and Gwalia, is very shallow.

“There is real potential to significantly increase our resource and reserves at Wiluna and we have many other sulphide targets, including Regent that have significant potential.”

Strategic alliance

On March 31 Blackham announced a strategic alliance, along with an offtake agreement, with Read More – Source