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Blackham Resources advances Wiluna free-milling strategy with strong Golden Age results

The high-grade ore supplements the baseload free-milling open pits and is an important source of transitional cash flow for the next 18 months while the company transitions to sulphide production.

Blackham Resources Ltd - Blackham Resources advances Wiluna free-milling strategy off the back of Golden Age drilling
There are seven drill rigs in operation at the Wiluna Mining Operation

Blackham Resources Ltd (ASX:BLK) has enhanced its free-milling gold strategy with strong results from underground drilling at the Golden Age mine within the Wiluna Mining Centre in WA.

High-grade ore from Golden Age will supplement the baseload free-milling open pits and is an important source of transitional cashflow for the next 18 months whilst the company transitions to sulphide production.

Results from a further 17 holes for 2,947 metres drilled at Golden Age include:

  • 3.8 metres at 7.90 g/t from 43 metres;
  • 1.8 metres at 39.68 g/t from 47.3 metres;
  • 2.6 metres at 21.74 g/t from 49.1 metres;
  • 0.8 metres at 22.80 g/t from 55 metres;
  • 0.4 metres at 12.10 g/t from 52.6 metres; and
  • 7.1 metres at 7.47 g/t from 185.9 metres, including 2.7 metres at 17.32 g/t.

The company has completed 46 holes for 4,827 metres at the Golden Age Footwall since November 2019 with the aim of improving free-milling operations ahead of the Stage One Expansion Plan which involves a transition to sulphide gold concentrate production.

“Free-milling strategy”

Blackham executive chair Milan Jerkovic said: “While the company is focused on optimising the mine plan around our large Wiluna sulphide resource and transitioning to gold concentrate production, these results also deliver on our parallel free-milling strategy.

“We aim to extend the high-grade Golden Age ore body to sustain or increase production and improve transitional cash flow over the next 12-18 months ahead of sulphides production from September 2021.

“In addition, we are drilling at the Williamson and Regent free-milling deposits, which have the potential to provide substantial baseload mill feed during the transition to, and potentially alongside, stage one sulphides production.”

Golden Age resource development targets and hole locations.

Drilling continues

Two rigs are focused on Golden Age Lower, which has the potential to sustain or increase production above the current rate of approximately 10,000 tonnes of ore per month for at least 12 months based on the defined exploration target.

A resource development program at the Lennon target has also started where the company has quantified an exploration target of between 70,000 tonnes to 340,000 tonnes at a grade of 5 to 6 g/t.

Drilling of this target is expected to be completed in the next two months.

Golden Age fault and offset

Mining of the Golden Age Fault in the Golden Age open pit is ongoing, with an exploration target beneath the pit of between 340,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes at a grade of 5 to 6 g/t defined.

This may be amenable to underground mining upon the completion of the open pit cutback.

The company is also drilling to discover the ‘missing’ portion of the Golden Age ore body that has long eluded previous operators at Wiluna, with three planned holes for 1,000 metres designed to intersect the target zone

If successful, the offset has the potential to be developed as a new mining front with access from the existing Bulletin mine.

Golden Age Offset zone to be targeted adjacent to Bulletin Mine.

Williamson and Regent free-milling 

The company has recently completed a resource infill program of 8 holes for 1,520 metres at the Williamson open pit within the Lakeway Mining Centre with the aim to further extend the Williamson Ore Reserve and mine life.

Continued pre-stripping at the Williamson pit cutback means the company will have access to baseload mill feed from the open pit for the next 18 months.

At the Regent Mining Centre, an initial infill RC drilling program of 4,000 metres has commenced, aimed at improving the geological confidence and resource category of the substantial open pit inferred and indicated resource.

This sits at 3.8 million tonnes at 2.22 g/t for 271,000 ounces, made up of an inferred resource of 3.1 million tonnes at 2.11 g/t for 210,000 ounces and an indicated resource of 700,000 tonnes at 2.71 g/t for 61,000 ounces.

Regent has the potential to provide substantial free-milling and sulphide mill feed following on from the completion of processing of Williamson ore in September 2021.

Sulphide development

Blackham is focused on infill and extensional drilling to methodically increase the geological confidence in the resources at Wiluna that will underpin stage one sulphide production.

The objective is to maintain four years of sulphide ore reserves in front of production through progressive infill drilling and conversion of the large resource base.

The combined open pit and underground resource is 35.5 million tonnes at 3.90 g/t for 4.45 million ounces, including 2.2 million ounces (49%) in the inferred category.

Blackham is confident that there are significant opportunities to define additional resources and life-of-mine extensions.

The aim of stage one of sulphide mining is to ramp up production from September 2021, with an additional 100-120,000 ounces annually of gold in concentrate being produced in addition to any free milling gold produced, with a subsequent stage two expansion envisaged to increase annual gold in concentrate production to over 200,000 ounces.

Quick facts: Wiluna Mining Corporation Ltd

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