Apex Minerals (ASX: AXM) has lifted the resource picture at both the currently mothballed Wiluna mining centre in the north eastern goldfields and at the Gidgee project and is now advancing a blueprint to become a gold producer in the last quarter of this year.
As a result of infill drilling on the inferred resource part of the Calais area at Wiluna has seen part of the inferred resource translated to indicated status under the Australian JORC Code system, resulting in a 39% increase in tonnes and a 29% lift in contained gold in the indicated category. This has added an additional 62,000 ounces of gold to the total resource.
The total resource at Wiluna is now 2.606 million tonnes grading 6.2 grams/tonne for a contained 521,000 oz. This takes in Calais' 739,000t @ 6.4 g/t, Burgundy zone's 782,000t @ 5.9 g/t and Henry5's 358,000t @ 6.8 g/t.
Apex' managing director, Mark Ashley, said drilling was ongoing since this resource was estimated, and six underground drill rigs will continue both infill and extensional drilling.
There are also three surface rigs undertaking a major drilling programme to extend known resources, and to explore for extensions beneath the historic East and West lode workings at Wiluna. Historic workings have produced about 2 million oz to a maximum depth of 600 metres between 1931-1950. Ashley said this zone has not been mined or effectively drilled beneath this level since then.
Meanwhile at Gidgee in the southern Murchison field, drilling to convert inferred resources to indicated has resulted in a 20% increase in tonnes and 22% lift in resources, and an additional 20,000 oz added to the total resource.
The three Wilson deposits at Gidgee now have total resources of 1.457 Mt @ 6.9 g/t for 325,000 oz.
Three new holes on the Wilson 3 Shoot hit mineralisation up to 100m down dip of previous drilling, and included 9.65m from 308m depth grading 12.2 g/t and 6.2m @ 8.7 g/t from 369m.
Ashley said drilling at Gidgee will start on the Premium and Cascade prospects where previous high-grade intercepts indicated potential for additional free-milling gold which could be trucked to Wiluna for treatment through the non-refractory circuit of the plant there.
This style of mineralisation is high grade and can be treated without the need to utilise Wiluna's flotation and BIOX circuit, and can therefore potentially make a significant contribution to the overall production profile without displacing refractory sulphide ore, Ashley said.
When Apex first acquired the Youanmi mine and mill in the Yalgoo goldfield and then Gidgee the blueprint was to move the Youanmi mill to Gidgee to be a central milling facility for mainly refractory ore. However, the acquisition of Wiluna in mid 2007 from Oxiana Ltd altered that picture. Wiluna was put into mothballs so a substantial mining resource could be established for the more substantial milling facilities there to become the operational centre.