Big Bell Gold Mine
The entrance to the mine
|Company||Westgold Resources Ltd|
|Website||Westgold Resources Limited CMGP|
|Year of acquisition||2011|
The Big Bell Gold Mine is a gold mine located at Big Bell, 24 km north-west of Cue, Western Australia. The mine was owned and operated by Harmony Gold at the time of its closure in June 2003, having produced 2.6 million ounces of gold during its lifetime, but was sold to Aragon Resources Limited in January 2010.
The historical Big Bell mine produced 730,000 ounces of gold at 4.04 g/t from 1904 to 1955. The mine was a very big, low grade ore deposit at Paton's Find, and was developed by the Premier Gold Mining Company in the 1930s. With the closure of the mine in the mid-1950s, the town of Big Bell declined and was virtually deserted.
The mine was later owned by Normandy Mining, until October 1999, when New Hampton Goldfields Limited acquired Big Bell for A$12 million in cash and A$17 million in shares. New Hampton was taken over by Harmony Gold in April 2001 for A$54 million.
Monarch Gold purchased the mine from Harmony in November 2007 in a deal that saw the company acquire Hill 50, Big Bell, St George, Star and the Great Fingall deposits for A$65 million, 30 million of this in cash. Monarch already owned the Mount Ida and the Davyhurst Gold Mine, who had both recently entered production at the time.
Monarch was to take possession of the mine on 1 April 2008 and complete the financial transaction on 30 June 2008, but failed to make the final payment before entering administration, despite receiving improved sales conditions and a cash-cost reduction.
Monarch appointed Pitcher Partners as voluntary administrators on 10 July 2008, with all mining operations thereby being put on hold. Big Bell thereby returned to Harmony's ownership, Harmony not having received the final payment of the sale.
In January 2010, the mine was sold to Aragon Resources Limited for A$3 million, who chose to rename the project to Murchison Bell. The mine was initially sold to Fulcrum Resources, which was quickly acquired by Aragon.
Rodney George Criddle, a Jumbo operator at Big Bell, died on 2 September 2000 in an underground rock fall. The underground operations of the mine were closed until 15 September following the accident. Another man Anthony John Hyde was injured. 
Production of the mine:
|Year||Production||Grade||Cost per ounce|
|1998-99 ||140,396 ounces||2.93 g/t||US$300|
|2000 ||423,355 ounces||2.85 g/t||A$419|
|2001 ||169,342 ounces||2.8 g/t||A$417|
|2002 1 ||71,676 ounces||2.34 g/t|
|2003 2 ||509,654 ounces||2.22 g/t|
- 1 Figures for January to June 2002 only.
- 2 Result for Harmony's combined Australian operations, consisting of Big Bell, the South Kalgoorlie Gold Mine, the Hill 50 Gold Mine and the Gidgee Gold Mine (sold in December 2003).
- The Australian Mines Handbook: 2003-2004 Edition, Louthean Media Pty Ltd, Editor: Ross Louthean
- Western Australian Mineral and Petroleum Statistics Digest 2008 Page 34: Principal Mineral and Petroleum Producers - Gold
- MINEDEX website - Cue / Aragon search result accessed: 6 February 2010
- Acquisition of Cue Gold Project Completed Aragon Resources announcement, published: 19 January 2010, accessed: 6 February 2010
- MONARCH GOLD MINING COMPANY LIMITED (MON) delisted.com.au, accessed: 15 January 2010
- The Australian Mines Handbook: 2003-2004 Edition, page: 69, accessed: 6 February 2010
- History of country town names - B Landgate website, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Big Bell Gold Mine May Be The First Casualty Of Proposed Tax The Sydney Morning Herald, published: 9 June 1986, accessed: 6 February 2010
- NDY`s ann: Sale of Big Bell Normandy Mining ASX announcement, published: 8 October 1999, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Copy of letter despatch to HNG Shareholders by Harmony Gold New Hampton ASX announcement, published: 8 January 2001, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Harmony annual report 2003 accessed: 20 January 2010
- Annual Financial Report 2007 Catalpa Resources, published: 28 September 2007, accessed: 6 February 2010
- MONARCH ACQUIRES HILL 50 GOLD Monarch ASX announcement, published: 8 November 2007, accessed: 18 January 2010
- Monarch finalizes Mt Magnet Purchase Agreement Monarch ASX announcement, published: 4 February 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
- Harmony and Monarch renegotiate sale Harmony news release, published: 8 July 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
- Sale agreement between Harmony and Monarch Gold terminated Harmony news release, published: 1 August 2008, accessed: 18 January 2010
- Aragon to Purchase Fulcrum and 1.5Moz Resource Aragon Resources announcement, published: 23 November 2009, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Progress Report - Big Bell New Hampton ASX announcement, published: 11 September 2000, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Big Bell rock fall account at mining inquest ABC News, published: 14 May 2002, accessed: 6 February 2010
- Normandy Mining Ltd - 1999 Mine-by-Mine Operating Results accessed: 14 February 2010