Middle Island, run by seasoned and successful industry personnel, is one of several Western Australian gold explorers and developers looking at historically mined areas, commonly with a view to assessing the primary potential with historic operations concentrating on oxide mineralisation.
In Middle Island’s case, it is the Sandstone Gold Project, located on granted mining leases 12km south of the township of Sandstone and 150km east of Mount Magnet in the northern section of the highly productive Southern Cross Belt of the Yilgarn. Previous operations, which closed in 2010, treated largely oxide ore through a 600,000tpa mill which, except for the crushing circuit, is still on site – these operations produced some 1Moz of gold from surface, open cut and underground mines.
It is estimated that it would take ~$10 million to refurbish the plant and associated infrastructure, with this including the provision of a contract crushing plant that will be able to treat all ore types and deliver a finer product to the mill. In addition to treating Middle Island’s mineralisation, the plant would be open for treating third party material, with a potential for a relatively low cost,short term restart of operations depending on building available resources.
Given the previous focus on oxide mineralisation, little work has done on looking at the primary potential and controls on mineralisation, work that is currently being carried out, and which is returning positive results, highlighting the potential to add to the current resource base. Other options to increasing resources include acquisitions, with a number of stranded assets in the region.
To read IIR’s research report on Middle Island please follow the link below.