WET commissioning is being carried out at the refurbished Wiluna plant at Blackham Resources’ Matilda Gold Project in Western Australia as part of the ramp-up to commercial production. The company expected to pour first gold by the end of September.

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Mining on the 1085 Bench in the M10 pit at Blackham Resources’ Matilda Gold Project in Western Australia.

Although the refurbishment contractor advised of a small delay to commissioning of the leach tanks due to weather disruptions and lags in installing the top of tank steel, Blackham said commissioning was tracking well. In early September it said an additional paint coating was being applied to the almost completed leach tanks to reduce future maintenance.

Ore crushing commenced at the end of August coinciding with dry commissioning of the ball mills while a new Knelson gravity concentrator has been installed. A new tailings dam is ready for use, a new power station and HV is fully operational and the camp is fully active, comprising 280 rooms.

The Wiluna gold plant has been refurbished to annual nameplate capacity of 1.7 million tonnes and is in the centre of the Matilda project. It can produce 100,000 ounces annually.

Blackham has commenced open pit mining and underground development work at the project. Open pit contractor MACA Ltd has mobilised the initial mining fleet and has three diggers mining at the Matilda M10, M3 and M4 open pits.

Mining of ore has commenced at the M10 pit while the M3 cutback started in early September. The company has started hauling ore to the plant ROM and by September 5 the ROM stockpiles totalled 145,000 tonnes @ 1.4 grams/tonne (g/t) gold for approximately 6800 ounces.

Development of the Golden Age underground deposit by Pybar Mining Services commenced within days of first ore being mined at M10.

The Matilda project is in Australia’s largest gold belt which stretches from Norseman through Kalgoorlie to Wiluna. The expanded project now includes JORC 2012 measured, indicated and inferred resources of 48 million tonnes @ 3.3 g/t gold for 5.1 million ounces within a 860sqkm exploration tenement package and has historically produced in excess of 4.3 million ounces. The resource is within a 20km radius of the Wiluna plant.

As well as Matilda mine and Golden Age deposits, there are also indicated and inferred resources at the Galaxy, Western/Bulletin Shear, Eastern Shear, Moonlight Shear, Williamson Mine and Regent deposits.

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