The company this week said Darlot, the satellite mine east of Leinster which is 100km from King of the Hills just north of Leonora, produced 702,270 tonnes at 2.49 grams per tonne for 56,105 ounces of gold during the 2022-23 financial year.
Red 5 also said drilling programs at Darlot during 2022-23 had delivered a proved and probable ore reserve of 1.4Mt at 2.5 g/t for 114,000oz.
“This drilling has generated a 117 per cent increase in contained ounces within the Darlot underground ore reserve, net of mining depletion, since 30 June 30, 2022, demonstrating the orebody’s ongoing potential to deliver mine-life extensions,” the company said.
“Darlot has also benefited from a significant reduction in its cost base over the past 12 months, including the closure of all surface activities.
“With further underground exploration and development, the company is confident that Darlot will continue to contribute to its production profile in the years ahead.”
Red 5 said underground diamond drilling had been restarted at Darlot, with 17,500m of resource extension drilling planned this financial year to define future ore sources.
Managing director Mark Williams said Darlot during its long production history had proved itself to be an exceptional gold system.
“Our ongoing resource and reserve development drilling programs are increasing confidence in the FY24 mine plan, while at the same time continuing to de-risk the mine plan for FY25 and FY26, and delivering growth across multiple fronts.
“We are particularly pleased to see such strong results from the Middle Waters South mining area, which is expected to contribute approximately 37 per cent of the total contained ounces mined at Darlot in FY24.
“Underground diamond drilling has re-commenced targeting down-dip extensions of the current mining areas where we are hopeful of further increasing mine life, with an initial program of 17,500m of drilling planned in FY24.”
Darlot’s status as the satellite mine feeding King of the Hills was not the original plan when Red 5 picked up both operations — Darlot from Gold Fields and King of the Hills from Saracen Mineral Holdings — for a combined $34.5 million cash-and-scrip deal in 2017.
The gold miner had worked out a plan to make both operations more efficient by trucking underground ore from King of the Hills to the mill at Darlot.
Red 5 operated that way until it put in a strategy that turned the model on its head, moving the Darlot processing plant into care and maintenance and instead sending ore to King of the Hills.
Red 5 did this because of the cost efficiencies that would come from processing ore through the economies of scale of operating a much bigger plant.