Dacian gearing up to join producer party

DACIAN Gold has discovered two new mines in its short existence, and is only just getting started, with the project sitting in what managing director Rohan Williams describes as one of the world’s best-endowed gold districts.
Dacian gearing up to join producer party Dacian gearing up to join producer party Dacian gearing up to join producer party Dacian gearing up to join producer party Dacian gearing up to join producer party

Kristie Batten

Construction at the A$200 million project, comprising the Jupiter pit and Westralia underground, started in May and is powering ahead with around $2.5 million being spent on construction each week.

Underground development has advanced to around 600m and is roughly 150m ahead of schedule.

The 2.5 million tonne per annum plant is on track under the watchful eye of contractor GR Engineering Services, keeping the company on track for a March gold pour and kicking off an operation that will run for at least eight years.

Williams was recently marketing in North America and said investors thought Dacian's development timetable was too aggressive.

"We didn't get a lot of buying out of the market when I did North America but we had people sit up and take notice because they now know we are a 200,000 ounce producer very soon but they generally didn't believe that we could build this thing so fast," he said on a visit to Mt Morgans this week.

Williams believes the project will be on time and on budget and he's already looking forward to the first gold pour.

"It'll be spectacular," he said, adding that he was keen for Dacian's 10 foundation shareholders to be in attendance.

"They've been fantastic so they get to hold the first bar."

But Dacian won't be the first company to pour gold at Mt Morgans.

Gold was first discovered at Mt Morgans, outside Laverton, in the late 1890s with 340,000oz produced up until the start of World War I.

Dacian is the 10th owner of the project since the late 1980s, acquiring it earlier this decade after the most recent owner Range River Gold went into administration.

The company went on to find more than 2 million ounces.

Williams believes previous owners may have suffered from management fatigue.

"The Westralia open pit was a spectacular deposit that was easy mining - 900,000 ounces came in the top 140m over 1.2km," he said.

"When they did very well out of that, they probably didn't do a lot of exploration while they were making all that money, and they got to a stage where they wanted to move on."

Gold Fields' plus-8Moz Wallaby is within 10km of Dacian's ground.

"Wallaby was discovered after Jupiter was finished mining and Wallaby was discovered on Mt Morgans ground and then got excised off Mt Morgans," Williams said.

"That became the focus for the right reason - it's a spectacular world-class deposit.

"The companies that have held Wallaby have invariably held Mt Morgans but just haven't explored it because they're developing Wallaby. It's a case of you can't do everything. We're trying to do everything."

One of the things that surprised Dacian when the company first took control of Mt Morgans was how small the core farm was.

"I thought that's a good thing because there's no way the previous owner could have understood what was there," Williams said.

Now that construction is underway, Dacian is refocusing on exploration and is spending at least $1 million a month.

Its most exciting prospect is the Cameron Well prospect, which is a 6sq.km oxide gold anomaly.

"We haven't seen an anomaly like this ever," Williams said.

The target has never been subject to diamond drilling, though Dacian has a program underway now.

"We've got our fingers crossed for some joy out of the diamond drilling," Williams said.

"It's a 2-3 year exploration project due to its size."

If successful, Cameron Well will be Dacian's third discovery and likely third mine.

"We are super encouraged that we're seeing as much gold in the near surface as we're seeing, but we need to do a lot of work," Williams said.

"There's a 6sq.km-long anomaly defined by all those holes, it's quite an unbelievable level of near-surface gold that we're really hoping has a big source."

While early days, the company has high hopes, particularly given the number of world-class deposits in the area, including Granny Smith and Sunrise Dam.

"We are in elephant country," Williams said.

"I've never seen so many large deposits that are clustered.

"There are six 2Moz-plus orebodies within a 25km radius of this holding so we're in a highly endowed part of the earth's crust and we know it's an underexplored field."

Kristie Batten travelled to Mt Morgans as a guest of Dacian Gold.