Wiluna eyes development milestone

Perth-based gold-miner Wiluna Mining is frantically ticking boxes as it gains momentum on the downhill run towards commissioning its 750,000 tonne-per-annum flotation plant as part of its major production ramp-up plan at its namesake project in WA. The company expects the plant to be in operation in December and is targeting increased production to 120,000 ounces per annum by the end of the 2022 financial year.

Located in the mineral prolific Goldfields of WA, the Wiluna Mining Centre boasts over 7 million ounces which places it firmly in the top 10 of Australia’s largest gold districts under single ownership. More than 4 million ounces of gold have been historically mined from twenty open pits in the area and three underground mines within 20km of the company’s Wiluna processing facility.

Wiluna Mining is in the throes of completing the next development stage of a two-staged, three-year development plan which will see the company strengthen its balance sheet, increase operational cash flows, transition to the production and sale of gold concentrate and expand overall gold production dramatically. The company will also pursue more exploration and feasibility studies to ultimately reach its 250,000 ounce-per-annum Stage 2 milestone and add an additional 500,000 ounces to current underground ore reserves.

Under Stage 1 of the development plan, Wiluna aspires to increase gold production to 120,000 ounces per annum from the existing 60,000 ounces a year.

Australia surpasses China in gold production

Australian gold production for the first half of 2021 was four tonnes more than China’s figures for the same period, according to Melbourne consulting group Surbiton Associates.  From January to June, Australia produced 157 tonnes of gold, with 74 tonnes in the March quarter and 83 tonnes in the June quarter.

China produced 153 tonnes of gold for the same period.

Australia’s 12 per cent increase in gold production from the March to June quarter of 2021 can be put down to new and existing operations increasing their output.  Newmont’s Boddington operation in Western Australia increased by 36,000 ounces, while the output of Evolution Mining’s Mount Carlton mine in Queensland jumped by 11,700 ounces of gold.

Capricorn Resources’ Karlawinda mine also entered the fray.

“One of the new operations was Capricorn Resources’ Karlawinda project, in the Pilbara, south-east of Newman. Its first gold was poured in the June quarter and it is ramping up to annual production of around 100,000 ounces,” Close said.

According to US Geological Survey data, China has been the world’s largest producer of gold since 2007 when it overtook South Africa. For over a decade, Australia has been the world’s second largest producer of gold.

China’s drop in gold production can be put down to work accidents including deaths, Surbiton Associates reports, with shut downs occurring as investigations took place.