Ramelius Resources: Staking its claim on WA’s gold sector
Australia has a long history of gold mining which has helped shaped the country and economy in many ways, with gold exports generating revenue of $25.8b in FY22.
Gold not only led Australia’s first mining boom, but it also triggered the 19th century gold rush with people travelling from all over the world to the goldfields of Kalgoorlie, Ballarat, Bendigo and Bathurst.
As the country with the largest known gold resources in the world, Australia has a significant opportunity to supply the world’s gold demand.
ASX200-listed company Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) has taken advantage of Australia’s gold resources, owning six gold mines, all of which are located in WA.
Ramelius owns and operates the Mt Magnet, Penny, Marda, Tampia, Symes and Edna May gold mines, while the company-making mine — Wattle Dam — was at one stage the highest-grade gold mine in Australia, operating from 2006 to 2013.
Ramelius boosted its portfolio in January 2022 when it completed the takeover of Apollo Consolidated and acquired the Rebecca gold project and, in June 2023, Ramelius completed the takeover of Breaker Resources to acquire the Lake Roe gold project, which is within 50km of Rebecca.
A month later in July, Ramelius moved to acquire Musgrave Minerals and later took full ownership of the Cue gold project.
Ramelius managing director Mark Zeptner spoke about the acquisition of Roe.
“Roe is part of our long-term strategy to increase shareholder value through both organic, which is more exploration, and inorganic, which is more your acquisition or your merger and acquisition piece,” he told The Australian Mining Review.
“The acquisition of Breaker Resources was in line with the idea of growing inorganically and the Roe project came through the acquisition of Breaker Resources which is complementary to our nearby project called Rebecca that we acquired through the acquisition of Apollo Consolidated in early 2022.
“They [Roe and Rebecca] are both advanced exploration projects, there’s no processing facility or no mine yet.
“There’s a total of over 3moz of mineral resources between the two projects.”
Since Ramelius began production in 2006, overall output has ramped up to current rates of around 250kozpa with guidance of between 250-275koz in FY24.
After receiving full approvals for haulage in May 2023, Ramelius has been able to ramp up work at Penny despite seeing some lower production in the first quarter of this financial year as a result of mine sequencing.
“Now that we have full approvals for haulage — which we got about three or four months ago — we’ve been able to ramp up the mine so that the haulage to the mill matches the mining rate,” Mr Zeptner said.
“The September quarter just gone we, as expected, saw some lower production due to an increased amount of development ore which is generally a bit lower grade than seen in production.
“From this quarter onwards, we expect Penny to increase its production and be at full production rates from this point forward.”
According to Mr Zeptner, full production at Penny is expected to be in the range of 70,000-80,000ozpa.
“Given that Penny is a 15g/t mine, so it’s very high-grade ore, it’s more or less around the 70,000-80,000oz per year, so it’s a very significant portion of the 250,000oz we produce as a company,” he said.
Ramping up exploration activities will result in Ramelius spending $30m this year which is the most the company has ever spent on an annual basis.
“Over the past six years we’ve made seven acquisitions, either company or project acquisitions, so we’re very active in WA gold consolidation,” Mr Zeptner said.
“We’ll continue to both explore and acquire because we have a longer-term strategy to get above 300,000oz.
“We’ve been around the 250,000oz production rate for a few years now but we have a goal to be sustainably above 300,000oz which we believe will deliver more value for shareholders.”
Ramelius is planning on acquiring a new processing centre — in addition to those at Edna May and Mt Magnet — with the possibility it’s completed before Roe and Rebecca come online.
“That’s part of our strategic plan to have a third production centre because these production centres typically produce about 100,000oz each.
“So by having three of them, our 300,000oz production target probably makes a bit more sense with that in mind,” Mr Zeptner said.
Ramelius is always looking for more potential acquisitions, but the company is remaining tight-lipped about these.