Westgold revives historic Great Fingall mine and adopts sustainable power

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Westgold (ASX:WGX) has finally given the green light to resume mining operations at the iconic Great Fingall mine near Cue in the Western Australian goldfields.

Having made a significant discovery earlier this year regarding the nature and location of gold mineralisation at Great Fingall, Westgold has been considering restarting mining activities.

The Great Fingall mine has historically yielded approximately 1.2 million ounces of gold, and there has always been a belief among miners that there is more untapped gold potential in the area.

It appears that Westgold has unlocked the secret, announcing the completion of a base case for a new Great Fingall mine. Their vision for the mine involves producing 2.5 million tonnes of ore at around five grams per tonne (g/t), resulting in 383,000 ounces of gold. This production is anticipated to sustain an output of 45,000 ounces of gold annually, with an all-in cost (AIC) of approximately $A1801 per ounce.

The development cost is estimated to be $30 million, distributed over 2024 and 2025. Westgold plans to finance this venture through operational cash flows.

Development activities are slated to commence in the December quarter of this year, with the initial ore production expected in the first half of the 2025 financial year.

Westgold CEO Wayne Bramwell stated, “Great Fingall is one of four historic producing mines in Westgold’s portfolio with a resource over one million ounces, and the commitment to its development underpins Westgold’s confidence in the Murchison region.”

In June, Westgold had upgraded Great Fingall’s resource to half a million ounces, a 49% boost that transformed the project from a marginal idea into a viable mine.

Bramwell emphasised, “Our base case is conservative and focuses on virgin reef extensions only. Even on this basis, the returns are compelling. Significant upside exists from high-grade flat structures and remnant ore that we will develop past as we push the decline to the virgin parts of this high-grade orebody."

Westgold envisions the Great Fingall project as a stepping stone toward achieving an annual production of 300,000 ounces.

In a separate move towards sustainability, the company recently completed the commissioning and operation of the first hybrid power facility out of four across its Western Australian operations.

The new 17.9-megawatt (MW) facility at Tuckabianna, situated 20 kilometres east of Cue, replaces an existing diesel-fired power station. This shift is expected to lead to a reduction of approximately 15,000 CO2 equivalent emissions and a decrease of 10 million litres in annual diesel fuel consumption.

This facility, equipped with a 6 MW solar farm, a 2.4 MW battery energy storage system, and a 9.5 MW gas-fuelled power station, will supply power to Westgold’s mines in the region, including Great Fingall.

Three additional hybrid power facilities are under construction at Bluebird, Fortnum, and Big Bell, with a combined installed capacity of 82 MW. These facilities are expected to be operational and powering Westgold’s operations by Q3 FY24 (March 2024).

The adoption of these sustainable power sources is projected to lower Westgold’s All-In Sustaining Cost of gold production by $A60 per ounce, presenting a significant cost-saving opportunity

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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