Westgold Resources boss takes aim at WA mining bureaucracy: Diggers and Dealers

Westgold Resources managing director Peter Cook yesterday criticised over-bureaucracy in Western Australia’s gold mining industry, saying regulation is holding back growth in the sector.

Speaking at the annual Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Cook said that a growing theme of paternalism is emerging from the bureaucracy, citing the government’s attempt to raise the gold royalty rate last year, as well as increasing regulation from the Department of Mines.

“Enough is enough,” he told mining forum. “The gold industry has become a proxy for Western Australia, for unfunded budget commitments and an inadequate GST share.

“We’ve now got a mines regulator that’s turned itself into a platoon of multi-disciplinary, self-interested people forcing regulation on the industry.”

Westgold operates three gold producing assets in WA – Higginsville, Central Murchison and Fortnum, located in the Goldfields and mid-West of the state.

The company produced 253,210 ounces (oz) of gold at all-in sustaining costs of AUS$1,463 per oz in the 2018 financial year, although Cook revealed that figure could rise to between 300,000-320,000 oz at $1,300-$1,350 per oz in fiscal 2019.

With its flagship Big Bell mine expected to come online by the end of 2019, Westgold’s production could rise to more than 350,000 oz at $1,250-$1,300 per oz in the 2020 financial year.