Fortnum Gold Operation (FGO)
FGO is located in the Proterozoic age Bryah Basin stratigraphy approximately 150 km northwest of Meekatharra and represents the northernmost group of Westgold assets. These assets encapsulate the historic mining centres of Labouchere, Fortnum, Horseshoe and Peak Hill which collectively has delivered approximately 2 million ounces of reported gold production. The FGO processing hub incorporates the 0.9 Mtpa Fortnum carbon-in-leach (CIL) 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.
FGO continues to deliver strong profit from the Starlight underground mine and additional mill feed sourced from large, existing low-grade surface stockpiles. This year saw expanded production in the Starlight mine including the Moonlight, Twilight North and Trev’s lodes. The process plant performed well given the hard ore and limited grind capacity, achieving more than 1,260,000 tonnes for the year with metallurgical recoveries at 95%. In FY22 open pit mining will recommence to replace the existing low-grade ore stocks in the mill feed and enhance overall ore grade sent to the FGO processing plant.
In-mine exploration at FGO is focussed on the potential extension of the Starlight orebodies to ensure longevity of the low-cost, high productivity mining model that is the cornerstone of the FGO project. In addition, Westgold is evaluating potential open pit opportunities to supplement underground ore sources at FGO increasing the ore optionality and mine life across this under-explored tenement package.
New mine exploration has similarly been accelerated with the initial primary focus being the Peak Hill mining centre. This work has included data compilation and geological re-interpretations leading to the selection of new priority targets for drill testing in the second half of FY22.