The principal activities of the Group during the financial year were:
- production of gold from the Matilda/Wiluna Gold Operation; and
- mineral exploration and development.
REVIEW AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Wiluna Gold Plant refurbishment
The refurbishment of Stage 1 of the Wiluna Gold Plant and building and commissioning of the new tailings storage facility was completed by October 2016.
Open pit mining commenced at the Matilda mine in July 2016. Underground mining commenced at Golden Age in July 2016. Gold plant wet commissioning started in September with the first gold pour occurring in October 2016. The Company announced commercial production in January 2017 after 3 months of commissioning.
Exploration and Reserve Drilling
Exploration during the year focused on drilling along strike and down dip of mineralisation at Matilda and at Wiluna. A large program of ~78,000m of RC and diamond drilling was completed around the Wiluna deposits as part of the Expansion Study, which is looking at the potential to exploit open pit resources by cutting back existing pits.
Drilling at Matilda targeted extensions to the M6 and M3/M4 deposits as well as testing for continuity of mineralisation between the M1 and M5 pits where RC drilling was limited. Significant shallow mineralisation has been intersected in drilling between the M1 and M5 pits. Infill and extensional drilling at M6 North has confirmed the presence of plunging shoots along strike of the M6 pit.
Underground drilling at Bulletin focussed on upgrading the confidence level of resources from either unclassified or Inferred to Indicated at the Bulletin orebody. Results from this drilling demonstrate the continuity of high-grade, steeply south-plunging shoots.
As a result of this drilling Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources at the project have grown substantially to 61Mt @ 3.1g/t for 6.1Moz and increase of 1Moz over the June 2016 Mineral Resource. Of this, 12.9Mt @ 2.8g/t for 1.2Moz is contained within open pits at Wiluna.
Expansion Preliminary Feasibility Study
On 30 August 2017, Blackham announced the successful results of the Expansion Preliminary Feasibility Study ("PFS") on its 100% owned Matilda & Wiluna Gold Operation ("Operation"). The PFS demonstrates robust economics and improved economies of scale supporting the Operation's expansion. Historically, over the last 20 years, the Operation has relied predominately on underground feed. Blackham's comparative advantage to previous operators is the 15Mt @ 2.3g/t Au (85% at Reserve classification) in open pit feed, which is included in the Expansion PFS Mine Plan.
Results of the PFS demonstrates robust economics and improved economies of scale supporting he Operation's expansion. The Expansion PFS brings in reserves 1.2Moz (15Mt @ 2.5g/t) which is an increase of 116% in one year.
The Expansion PFS demonstrates robust economics for the expanded, parallel processing of oxide and sulphide ores. This gives Blackham the flexibility to treat both oxide and sulphide ores from June 2019, as an indicative date, which will be confirmed during the Expansion DFS which is targeted for completion at the end of the 1st quarter of 2018.
The expansion PFS has focused on the Wiluna sulphides and their integration with the current free milling ores at Matilda and Wiluna. It has been assumed the expanded operation would be developed through:
- Construction of a new crushing and grinding circuit to increase throughput by 1.5Mtpa
- Construction of a new flotation circuit
- Refurbishment of the existing sulphide treatment plant which has operated for 20 years.
- Construction of a new carbon in leach (CIL) circuit.
On the completion of the Expansion, the free milling circuit and the sulphide circuit would run in parallel as two processing facilities, with total capacity of up to 3.3Mtpa. Significantly, the estimated capital cost per ounce of production is $77/oz, which the Company believes is outstanding compared to industry averages.
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About Blackham Resources Ltd
Blackham Resources Limited (ASX:BLK) (OTCMKTS:BKHRF), is an emerging gold producer focused on its Matilda Gold Project in Western Australia where mining and production is imminent. The Matilda/Wiluna Gold Operation incorporates over 1,000 square kilometres of tenements containing total JORC 2012 resources of 63Mt @ 3.2 g/t for 6.4Moz of gold. These tenements cover around 55 kilometres of strike along the Wiluna Mine Sequence and 10 kilometres of strike along the Coles Find Sequence. The Wiluna Mine and Coles Find Sequence has historically produced 4 million ounces of gold.
All the deposits are within 26 kilometres by existing haul roads of Blackhams recently acquired Gold Plant. With exploration prospects at Mt Poole, Monarch, Carroll Prior, Red Lady, Zenith, Island and Albion in the Lakeway area provides the company with excellent exploration areas for potential future projects.
Blackham Resources Ltd