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ASX-listed Red 5 is planning to start gold production from the Great Western deposit, at its Darlot mining hub, in Western Australia, by January next year.

The gold miner has reported a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 870 000 t, grading 2.5 g/t gold for 70 300 oz of contained gold, with the project estimated to hold a maiden proven and probable openpit reserve of 437 000 t, at 2.5 g/t gold for 35 424 oz.

Based on a proposed mining rate of between 30 000 t/m and 40 000 t/m of ore, the openpit mine at Great Western is expected to be completed over a 13-month period, with plans to then access the underground orebody through a portal at the base of the openpit operation.

Ore from the Great Western pit will be trucked to the Darlot mill, some 55 km away, for processing.

“The Great Western deposit has emerged as a strong source of satellite ore feed for the Darlot processing plant, with the completion of an initial open pit ore reserve of 35 424 oz of contained gold paving the way for the start of open pit mining planned for January 2021. Importantly, this will also provide a platform from which to pursue a potential longer-term underground mining operation,” said Red 5 MD Mark Williams.

“Our recent drilling programs have reinforced the quality of the deposit, with in-fill drilling increasing the higher confidence measured and indicated categories within the mineral resource to over 80%. In addition, we are looking forward to seeing results from deeper reverse circulation drilling designed to test high-grade gold mineralisation in deeper parts of the Great Western deposit, which currently remains open.

“The satellite ore feed from Great Western enables us to transition and progressively scale down our current underground mining operations at King of the Hills over the remainder of the year, as we prepare to start construction of the proposed new four-million tonne a year bulk mining and processing operation in line with the recently completed final feasibility study.”