Western Australian gold miner Northern Star Resources announced plans for a two-stage expansion at its Paulsens gold mine and nearby Ashburton project, located 190 km west of the mining town of Paraburdoo on the border of the Ashburton and West Pilbara mineral fields.

Stage one calls for an increase in plant capacity at Paulsens from 350,000 to 450,000 mt/y, allowing gold production to increase from the current level of 75,000 to 80,000 oz/y to 100,000 oz/y. Feed for the expanded plant will be supplied initially from near-mine resources at Paulsens and after about three years from free-milling ore at Ashburton. An A$20-million exploration program is currently under way to expand free-milling Ashburton resources.

Stage two will involve development of Ashburton sulphide resources, which currently stand at 576,000 oz. Preliminary planning calls for development of a stand-alone sulphide operation producing 100,000 oz/y of gold.

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