Westgold’s operations at Fortnum are located in the Proterozoic age Bryah Basin stratigraphy approximately 150km northwest of Meekatharra and represent the northernmost group of Westgold assets. These assets encapsulate the historic mining centres of Labouchere, Fortnum, Horseshoe and Peak Hill which collectively have delivered approximately 2Moz of reported gold production.

The processing hub incorporates the 0.8-0.9Mtpa Fortnum processing plant, a 200-person village, airstrip and associated mining infrastructure required to support a remote FIFO operation. Mining output is currently dominated by the Starlight underground mine with supplementary, free on surface low grade stocks providing a blended feedstock to the plant.

Fortnum had a challenging year in FY23 with weaker results delivered from the Starlight underground mine. This resulted in an operational restructure focused on optimising the mine plan, targeting key mining areas including the Moonlight, Twilight North, Galaxy and Trev’s lodes.

The processing plant performed well, treating 802,753t of hard ore blend at a metallurgical recovery of 96%. A new pebble crusher will be installed in FY24 which will help manage the hard ores and incrementally increase throughput.

A major extension drilling program was undertaken at Starlight during FY23. This program focused on testing the primary Starlight lodes over a multi-year window to provide increased levels of certainty for mine planning and infrastructure investment. Pleasingly, these works have resulted in an expansion of the Mineral Resource base in the order of 70koz after mining depletion of 66koz. Drill testing of Starlight remains ongoing, targeting further Mineral Resource increases and translation of these to Ore Reserves as additional data density is achieved.

Drill testing of the Nightfall system was also progressed in FY23. The Nightfall mineralisation sits adjacent to the Starlight lodes with many areas already having undergone capital development. This will allow for expedited production once the system is adequately defined.

At the end of FY23, Westgold turned its attention to the evaluation of its Peak Hill suite of assets which are envisaged to provide a medium-term source feed to the Fortnum Processing Plant.