Red 5 ramps up gold mine
West Australian gold miner Red 5 is working to scale up the King of the Hills gold mine near Leonora, committing to a major 30,000m drill program in a bid to prove up its potential for bulk underground mining.
The operation was mined on a large scale through the 1990s and early 2000s, when it produced 1.6 million ounces from the old Tarmoola open pit, originally opened in 1990 by Mount Edon Gold Mines.
Narrow-vein underground mining has been the priority at King of the Hills more recently, where St Barbara and Saracen have operated it as a small sweetener to adjacent operations.
Red 5 has operated King of the Hills, which has a two-year mine life with an 88,000oz reserve, since January as a satellite operation for its Darlot gold mine and processing plant.
King of the Hills generated almost 9500oz last quarter, and Red 5 believes a rethink of the mine’s geology and a decision to turn its drill rigs around 90 degrees have been the key to hopes it will become a larger-scale operation.
A bulk stoping trial has begun at the Lemonwood zone, while the eight-month long resource extension drilling campaign has been initiated after wide intersections including 330m at 1.7g per tonne and 234m at 2g/t were struck in recent exploration holes. Red 5 managing director Mark Williams was confident the drilling would add both tonnes and grade to the mine’s resources.
The company believes a granite intrusion hosting the mineralisation continues more than 500m below-surface, with existing mine workings only extending to 380m below-surface. Mr Williams said the campaign would take up most of Red 5’s attention on the exploration front until mid-2019.
“From our point of view we’ve turned the drill around 90 degrees and that’s helped us to understand much better these veins and stockworks and therefore that’s given us a much better line of sight to be able to evaluate the potential for bulk opportunities,” he said.
“That’s what this drill campaign is really about and even today, it’s been able to add tonnes and grade and extend the mine life, which we’re delighted about.” Red 5 shares were up 6.6 per cent, or 0.4¢, to 6.5¢ at the close last night.
Red 5 is committing to its King of the Hills gold mine near Leonora.