Mt Magnet Gold Mine
The Mt Magnet gold project is located 600km north of Perth in the Murchison Goldfield of the Western Australian Yilgarn Craton.
Ramelius purchased the Mt Magnet gold project via its acquisition of Mt Magnet Gold Pty Ltd (formerly Mt Magnet Gold NL) from Harmony Gold (Australia) Pty Ltd in July 2010 for the consideration of A$40 million (including A$5 million in environmental bonds).
The Mount Magnet project consists of numerous open pit and underground mines plus exploration targets situated on established mining and prospecting leases. The total project area covers 225km².
Historically Mt Magnet produced over 5.6 million ounces since gold was discovered in 1891 and has significant potential to host new discoveries. The Hill 50 underground mine produced over 2.1Moz of gold and was the largest gold producer in the field until the mine was closed in 2007. It had been mined to 1500m below surface, demonstrating the depth continuity of high grade mineralised shoots within the Mt Magnet project area.
In April 2011 the Board of Ramelius Resources approved the redevelopment of the Mt Magnet gold project. Mining is currently focused on a series of large open pit cutbacks to the Mars, Saturn and Titan pits, collectively referred to as the Galaxy mining area.
Mt Magnet Goldfield History
- The original 'Mount Magnet' that Austin climbed during his exploration activities in 1854 lies c. 60km east of Mt Magnet. It was later renamed Mount Carron. Mt Warramboo, located between the Checkers Mill and the Black Cat Administration offices was colloquially referred to as Mount Magnet.
- Gold in the Mt Magnet region was discovered in July 1891. Very rich alluvial finds were made over 'Poverty Flats' within the Mt Magnet leases. Largest nugget found over the years weighed 100 oz.
- A railway line linking Geraldton to Cue (via Mt Magnet) was completed in 1897.
- Discovery of gold along the Lennonville Trend was made in 1894 and over the next few years mines including Welcome Gold Mine and the Long Reef Gold Mine were operating.
- Mining of high grade ore shoots at the Morning Star mine also commenced in 1894.
- The St George Mine immediately west of the Mt Magnet townsite commenced operations in 1908.
- The State Battery (near Saturn pit) started operations in 1935.
- The Hill 50 mine, the largest of all the gold mines in the Mt Magnet district, began operations in 1934. Unlike most other gold mines it survived the Second World War. The mine continued operating during the war and in 1948 diamond drilling delineated the main high-grade shoot at depth.
- A new main shaft was sunk to 300m in 1950 and a steel head frame erected in 1956. A significant proportion of Hill 50's total gold production came from mining of the ore body between the 3 Level and 6 Level (180-400m below surface), averaging a recovered grade of nearly 20 g/t gold.
- Hill 50 mine closed in 1976 and re-opened in 1981 when the gold price reached >$800/oz.
- The higher gold price during the 1980's also saw several larger open pits being developed, including the Mars and Saturn pits.
- When finally closed in 2007 the Hill 50 mine had reached a depth of over 1,500m below surface, making it the deepest gold mine in Australia at that time.
- Historically, the Mt Magnet district has produced c. 5.6Moz gold, with the Hill 50 Mine alone having contributed 2.1Moz.
- In 2010 Ramelius acquired the Mt Magnet gold project and recommenced open pit mining in 2011 with a reserve base of 545,000 oz.
" On current reserves the project has a projected six year mine life, treating ore through the 1.7Mtpa Checkers Mill.
The Mt Magnet project is located within the north-south striking Meekatharra-Mt Magnet greenstone belt of the Western Australian Murchison Province. The greenstone belt lithologies comprise a succession of steeply dipping and intensely deformed plus interlayered mafic and ultramafic extrusive and intrusive rocks, felsic volcanics and banded iron formations. Granitic rocks intrude the greenstone belt stratigraphy.
Banded iron formations are the dominant host rocks for gold mineralisation in the project. Gold mineralisation is typically associated the pyrite and/or pyrrhotite replacing magnetite in the banded iron. Economic high grade ore shoots are developed along the intersection of the banded iron formation and a swarm of northeast trending faults, colloquially referred to as Boogardie Breaks.
Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) has been awarded the open pit mining contract. Watpac is a publicly listed company and is one of Australia’s leading mining contractors. Watpac has a number of mining contracts in Western Australia.
The Checkers Mill is an existing 1.7 million tonne per annum (mtpa) conventional semi autogenous grinding (SAG) gold mill located approximately 4km from the Galaxy mining area.
The mill was refurbished in 2011 and begun milling operations in January 2012.
Galaxy mining area and Checkers Treatment Plant at Mt Magnet, Western Australia