Mt Charlotte Gold Mine Extends operations till 2021
DIGGING DEEP: There is new life being breathed into Kalgoorlie’s historic Mt Charlotte gold mine, with exploration extending the mine life out until at least 2021.
Mt Charlotte – the longest continually producing gold mine in Australia – opened in 1963 and has been threatened with closure on several occasions
over the past 54 years with gold price crashes and seismicity issues among the challenges.
The mine has produced more than 5 million ounces of gold.
Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines general manager Ian Butler told the ABC that additional reserves have extended the life of Mt Charlotte beyond the anticipated closure date of 2018 with further exploration under way.
KCGM began mining the Hidden Secret ore body beneath the east Kalgoorlie suburb of Williamstown in August 2015 which was the last time Mt Charlotte’s life was extended.
Mr Butler said three drill rigs are turning at Mt Charlotte and another three are working at the Super Pit.
“You could say we’re fair dinkum,” he said.
It comes as Mr Butler and Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler officially opened the new Mt Charlotte Cassidy Centre today.
The newly refurbished offices, adjacent the iconic Cassidy Shaft which extends about 1200 metres below the surface, means miners save time heading underground via the shaft instead of driving down through the Sam Pearce Decline.
The portal, which was opened in 1997, remains the access point for trucks bringing ore and waste to the surface.
Mr Bowler told the crowd at the unveiling that he was invited underground at Mt Charlotte in 1976 when he was a newspaper photojournalist.
“All the mines on the Golden Mile had shut at that point and Mt Charlotte was going to close as well,” he said.
“I was sent to take photographs of the miners working their last shift. But the next day the mine got a reprieve and it stayed open.”
Mt Charlotte is just a stone’s throw from where Irish prospectors Paddy Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan Shea discovered gold near Kalgoorlie in 1893, sparking one of Australia’s biggest gold rushes.
KCGM is due to pour the 60 millionth ounce of gold from the Golden Mile in June, of which a combined 20Moz has been produced from the Super Pit and Mt Charlotte operations.