SMS Finance

Westgold green-lights intensive explorations with expectations of booming results

Westgold Resources’ timely revitalisation of its exploration program has seen the company avoid what would have been an embarrassing slide in the amount of resources at its gold mining operations in the Cue area of WA.

Stepped up spending on exploration in 2022-23 saw big increases in contained gold resource estimates for its established Big Bell mine and the Reedy’s prospect as well as a big jump in the resource at the revitalised veteran Great Fingall mine.

And CEO, Wayne Bramwell says there will be more spent on exploration this year.

He said in a filing with the ASX on Monday that after lifting exploration spending to $19 million in 2021-22, Westgold planned to boost that figure by more than 30% to $25 million this financial year.

In Monday’s release Westgold made a startling confession in explaining why the lift in spending – it said it had “underinvested”on exploration in past years.

“Westgold historically underinvested in drilling, resulting in the depletion of its Mineral Resource base until FY22. The Company began to address this trend in FY23, investing $19M towards exploration and resource drilling,” the company told the ASX.

“This investment saw our Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve improve in quality, with our Mineral Resource base growing by over 300koz. In short order we also replaced 42% of depleted Ore Reserves in this year,“ CEO Wayne Branwell revealed on Monday.

This investment achieved 4% growth in Westgold’s Mineral Resource base for the first time since 2017 and delivered a 7% improvement in global Mineral Resource grade.”

“As of 30 June 2023 the total Mineral Resource estimate is 107Mt at 2.39g/t Au for 8.3Moz of gold,” Westgold told the ASX.

The total Mineral Resource is actually 3 million tonnes under the 110 million tonnes at June 30, 2022, though the grade it a bit higher than the 2.24 grams to the tonne a year ago.

Big Bell saw a sharp lift in total resource to 2.358 million ounces, from 854,000 at the end of 2022, while intensive exploration under the existing underground mining zone saw Westgold turn Great Fingall into a definite prospect with a new mining operation starting next year at the mine which had been one of the country’s most prolific mines.

Great Fingall is part of the company’s Day Dawn project which saw the total resource jump from 287,000 ounces to 887,000 at June 30.

The most stunning lift in reserves came from the company’s Reedy’s prospect where exploration boosted the resource from just 101,000 ounces to 1.004 million at June 30, 2023.

“Systematic drilling delivered large Mineral Resource increases at both Big Bell and Great Fingall. Group grade increases across Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves gives us confidence that the quality of the Group Resource and Reserve statement will continue to be enhanced as we continue to drill,“ the CEO said in Monday’s statement.

“There is still untapped opportunity across our Murchison tenure that can be unlocked. In FY24 Westgold is investing $25M towards exploration and resource definition drilling and we are confident that will deliver additional Ore Reserves from our existing Mineral Resources.

“Importantly, with increasing free cash flow and industry leading inhouse drilling capability, Westgold is now internally funded, resourced and confident our team can build scale and add value through the drill bit.”


Scroll to Top