In-mine drilling

The information gained from drilling helps mine geologists estimate the amount of gold within the ore bodies and is used to generate underground designs to extract that ore. At Fosterville Gold Mine, drilling geologists work specifically with underground diamond drill rigs.

core drill sample
Designing the drill program

Before drilling begins Geologists decide where to drill, how many holes are necessary, how long the holes will be, what the target is, and what the best location is to drill from.

Hole plan given to drillers

Once drilling has begun, down hole surveys are taken regularly, which allows geologists to track the hole. Geologists work closely with drillers to manipulate drilling techniques and vary equipment to reach the desired spacing between drill holes.

Drill core logged

Once drilling is completed, geologists log the drill core. If the hole contains important structures, mineralisation or gold, these areas are sampled by logging geologists.

Reporting the results

Samples are sent to a local laboratory to determine how much gold the rock contains. When results are returned, they are subjected to quality control. If the results pass all tests, they are reported and utilised to build resource and reserve models. Engineers then use these to evaluate the validity of mining.

Developing the mine

To access the gold bearing ore body, FGM develops a series of tunnels which are typically 5.5m wide and 5.5m high.

This starts by creating an access portal at the surface and a main decline. Once the decline has reached the desired depth, horizontal tunnels are then developed in order to reach the ore body. 

A jumbo drill, a Load Haul Dump machine (also known as a “bogger”), haul truck and shotcrete machine are used to bore out the face and lengthen the tunnel.

Battery-powered loader

Fosterville Gold Mine is trialling a battery electric loader with a vision to move to a battery powered fleet in the future.

mine development

Mining the ore body

mining ore body

Holes are drilled up into the ore body (or down) and filled with explosives. Once the explosives are fired, they create large piles of gold bearing ore.

The void that is created is called a stope. The ore is then removed using the remote control Load Haul Dump machine or bogger, and placed into ore trucks. The trucks bring the ore to the surface and tip it on the stockpile in readiness for processing.

Our mining locations in 2024

We often get asked where we are currently mining. Although it changes over time, it is always within our mining licence area (indicated by the pink line) and often confined to quite small areas within the mining licence.

Our mining locations for 2024 are in the Harrier, Phoenix and Robbins Hill areas of the mine; at depths of 760-930m, 1-1.4km and 530-570m respectively. 

The map also indicates the proximity of these mining production areas to the nearest towns of Fosterville, Axedale and Goornong.

FGM Map Distance

Download more detailed information about FGM's mining activities here

Educational resources