In October 2015 Westgold acquired the Fortnum Gold Project (FGP) from RNI NL.
The FGP is located in the western Bryah Basin approximately 150km northwest of Meekatharra. The FGP encapsulates the historic mining centres of Labouchere, Fortnum, Horseshoe and Peak Hill. A 1.0 million tonne-per-annum carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant, a 100-person village and all the plant and infrastructure required to operate the project is in place but hasn’t operated for nearly 10 years. Refurbishment of the plant has commenced and re-commissioning and hence gold production is expected late in calendar 2016.
Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves
Fortnum has the following Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves as at 30 June 2016:
- A Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 29.7 million tonnes at 1.84 g/t gold, containing 1.75 million ounces of gold; and
- A Proved and Probable Reserve of 5.4 million tonnes at 1.95 g/t gold, containing 339,000 ounces of gold.
A re-start plan for the gold operations at the FGP with an initial five year development plan was released in July 2016 (ASX:MLX 15 July 2016). This plan was formulated around the strategy of commissioning and operating the plant on existing low-grade stocks, progressively replacing low-grade stock with new open-pit ore and progressively re-accessing and progressing the Starlight underground mine.
This plan concluded a robust and low-capital risk start-up plan for the project.
There is the opportunity to accelerate project ramp-up, and increase the scale of the proposed operation. This will involve a more capital intensive start-up but will bring on the higher-grade Starlight underground mine earlier and speed up payback In addition, there is significant opportunity for longer mine life, beyond the initial five year plan, from known resources which require further validation and drilling. In particular, the Peak Hill region which is yet to be considered in the development strategy.
A maiden drilling campaign was conducted during the June 2016 quarter at Yarlarweelor, the resource which will be the first open pit mined during the restart of operations. Best results from the limited campaign of confirmatory drilling included 13m at 4.65g/t Au from 31.0m in MXC0387, 7m at 33.06g/t Au from 51.0m in MXC0392 and 0.54m at 120g/t Au from 124.7m in MXC0405 (ASX:MLX June 2016 Quarterly).
Initial exploration drilling has commenced at the Peak Hill district where significant validation and data-integrity checks are required before it can be brought into the development plan.