St. Barbara Drills Deep for Gwalia Gold

St. Barbara senior resource geologist Adrian Diaz (left) and DDH1 Drilling supervisor Alexander
Phillips at the site of what could be one of Australia’s deepest mineral exploration holes.
Gold miner St. Barbara has begun one of the longest drill holes in Australian mining history to extend the life of the Gwalia gold mine near Leonora, according to The West Australian. Located 230 km north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, St. Barbara is pouring more than $1 million into the campaign to find gold 2,600 m below the original Sons of Gwalia mine.

Resources at the 250,000-ounceper- year (oz/y) gold mine, considered the deepest trucking mine in the world, now extend to 2,200 m below surface, with a mine reserve life stretching to 2024.

Managing Director Bob Vassie said the adventurous exploration campaign was planned to prepare for the mine’s future. “We’ve got this incredible ore body that’s been mined since the late 1890s on and off, and now it’s doing better than it’s ever done, with some record production and great cash generation,” he said.

“We know the ore body just continues in a straight line. “I think it was about three years ago we didn’t have any holes under 1,800 m below surface, that’s where our reserves had cut off, but we knew the ore body seemed to continue.

“In this particular hole, in one regard, we don’t need to drill it right now ... we wouldn’t be down there for years and years to come. “But it’s more of a strategic hole.”

The diamond drill hole, being executed by DDH1 Drilling, is expected to cost about $1.6 million including associated costs, stretch 2,950 m from its collar to the target, and take four months to complete with assays to follow soon after. While it is expected to fall short of a hole drilled by KCGM at the Super Pit in 2015, which reportedly ended at a length of 3,011.5 m, it is among the deepest mineral exploration targets ever tested in Australia.

As featured in Womp 2018 Vol 02 -