The CGO are located around the regional town of Cue and is the groups southernmost group of assets in the Central Murchison region. The processing hub in this region is the 1.2 – 1.4 mtpa Tuckabianna Plant. The CGO as a regional project covers the historic mining centres of Big Bell, Cuddingwarra, DayDawn, Tuckabianna and Pinnacles andinclude two of Australia’s most prolific past producers in the Big Bell mine (2.6 million oz) and the Great Fingall mine (1.2 million oz).
Westgold’s strategy in this region has been heavily focussed on the re-start of the long-life Big Bell mine. After 3 years of de-watering, mine rehabilitation and refurbishment ore has began to flow from Big Bell. Over FY20-21 this will build to steady state output and dominate ore feed for the Tuckabianna plant. Whilst Big Bell builds to full production, the Tuckabianna plant has been filled with various minor ore sources from small open pits at Day Dawn, low grade stockpiles and the small Comet underground mine at Pinnacles.
The CGO is expected to produce 100-110,000oz per annum for Westgold over the long-term which is essentially underwritten by output from the Big Bell mine.
Exploration and resource development work at Cue has two separate thrusts;
- A emphasis on developing high grade ore sources which can offset a small volume of Big Bell production whilst materially improving the grade profile through the Tuckabianna mill. In particular there is a focus on high-grade quartz reef-hosted mineralisation in the Day Dawn region, which have hosted the significant past producers of Great Fingall and Golden Crown (head grades of 19.5g/t and 14g/t respectively). Great Fingall is expected to become Westgold’s latest underground mine adding to the regions overall gold output
- A focus on the Tuckabianna and Cuddingwarra mining centres which are dominated by more recent shallow open pit mining. These area can support a renewed open pit mining phase and eventual underground extraction. Whilst spatially these areas are adjacent to the Tuckabianna mill, the inherent flexibility offered by the owner - operator mining model and multiple processing hubs in the district means that futures mines in either of these centres can be directed to the most commercially attractive of either the Tuckabianna or Bluebird processing plants.