Australian-based gold explorer, developer and miner Westgold Resources announced that its Board of Directors has approved the development of the Great Fingall mine in Australia.

The Great Fingall operation is located 5km southwest of Cue and 28km from the company’s Tuckabianna processing hub in Western Australia.

Westgold plans to spend up to A$30m ($19.6m) at Great Fingall Mine between 2024 and 2025, fully funded through its operational cash flow, with a payback of four years.

The Great Fingall project is estimated to produce more than 45000oz of gold per annum in the initial mine life of eight years, and the ore is processed at the Tuckabianna mill, at a cost of A$1,801.

In addition, the operation would increase its production to 300,000oz per annum, and generate revenues of A$996m at a gold price of A$2,600 per oz, said Westgold.

Westgold managing director Wayne Bramwell said: “Great Fingall is one of four +1Moz historic producing mines in Westgold’s portfolio and the commitment to its development underpins Westgold’s confidence in the Murchison region.

“At steady state it will be a long-life, high-grade, high-margin underground mine, producing +45,000oz a year, with first ore production in H1 FY25.

“Our base case is conservative and focuses on virgin reef extensions only. Even on this basis, the returns are compelling.”

The Golden Crown (GC) and Great Fingall (GF) mines have hosted significant historic production, with over 1.55Moz of gold being mined since the late 1800s.

Between 1891 and 1929, Great Fingall yielded 1.2Moz of gold from 1.9Mt of ore at a recovered grade of 19.5g/t Au, from twenty levels underground to a depth of 786m below the surface.

Mining activities recommenced in 1995, through open pit methods, which continued until March 1999, yielding 82koz gold from 1.8Mt of ore.

Westgold conducted two subsequent open pit campaigns until 2020, producing additional 54koz gold leaving the pit floor 170m below the surface with underground decline access established.

This year, the Australian mining company has de-risked the project with a major drilling campaign targeting the area below the historic workings.

Together with the Golden Grown Mineral Resource of 194koz, the Great Fingall Base Case development plan is based on a total resource of 782,000oz of contained gold.

Bramwell added: “Significant upside exists from high-grade flat structures and remnant ore that we will develop past as we push the decline to the virgin parts of this high-grade orebody.

“These opportunities and the additional 250 vertical metres of reef depth extensions intersected by Westgold drilling has not yet been included in the current evaluation or design.

“Critically, Westgold is fully funded to undertake this development from operational cashflows. The first cut in the Great Fingall decline is scheduled for Q2, FY24 and will herald a new beginning for this iconic mine.”