Bellevue will become WA’s newest gold producer early in the December quarter when it hopes to start mining its Bellevue gold project, which boasts a mineral resource of 3.1 million ounces and is expected to rank among the top 20 gold mines in the country.
Mr Stralow said being in the final stages of construction of the 1mtpa processing plant was “super exciting”.
The project is expected to be delivered on time and on budget — no easy feat against a backdrop of rising costs — going from first discovery to first gold in six years.
But he is refusing to “exhale and fully relax” until gold bars are being poured.
Even after announcing high-grade infill drilling results this week, obstacles remain for Mr Stralow and the Bellevue team who are focused on putting the finishing touches on the plant before ramping up production.
However, each day that passes gives Mr Stralow more confidence as the potential for setbacks continues to narrow significantly.
“Everything is on track, everything is working from a construction perspective but finishing the plant and getting to first gold is not the finish line, it’s actually the starting line,” said Mr Stralow, who hosted a site visit on the eve of Kalgoorlie’s annual Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum.
“Then it becomes about getting consistent production from the operation and actually showing the market that the mine is going to do what we said it’s going to do.”
The company has been working closely with Bill Beament’s Develop Global, responsible for construction, development and production activities at the underground mine.
Mr Stralow said timing of the final construction components would be critical in the coming weeks.
“The next big key task is just ramping up production, so we’re starting stoping this week,” he said. “Tt gives us a few months to really build up our ROM (run of mine) stocks and have that big stockpile which de-risks the early production.”
Mr Stralow said Bellevue’s ambitions to produce a zero-carbon product known as “green gold” by 2026 was helping it attract workers in a tight labour market. The company has hired over 100 people in the past nine months.
“ESG is something that a lot of gold companies will need to focus on in order to stay relevant in the new time and be able to attract and retain workforce, investors, government support and stakeholder support,” he said.
“There’s also been lot of things going on with global currencies, US dollars and gold providing that traditional safe-haven which it’s always been has really shown itself to still be relevant in 2023-2024.”
Mr Stralow said this was being reflected in the strong gold price, which has been trading around $US1934 ($2953)/oz.
The timing of the Bellevue project coming online is optimal, he said, noting it would coincide with the completion of Newmont Corporation’s $29 billion takeover of Newcrest Mining.
He said Bellevue was looking to provide a “quality” alternative that Newcrest investors could pivot into if they did not want their shares to go to Newmont.
Bellevue plans to provide updated production and cost guidance for the second half of the current financial year pot commissioning.
The mine is expected to produce 200,000oz of gold annually.