The operators of Kalgoorlie's Super Pit gold mine have announced the extension of mineral processing at the operation by eight years.
Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) said in a statement today that while mining at the Fimiston Open Pit was still scheduled to end in 2019, as announced in 2009, the processing of ore would be extended from 2021 to 2029.
KCGM general manager Russell Cole said the processing extension was based on the inclusion of low grade ore stockpiles, which were deemed a mining reserve in 2012.
"While current plans have us stopping open pit mining in 2019, processing the low grade stockpiles has now become part of our long-term plan," he said.
"The inclusion of the stockpiles means KCGM currently plans to process gold until 2029.
However Mr Cole made no guarantees, saying the mine's continued operation would always depend on the price of gold, taxes and labour costs.
KCGM said it would continue to look for opportunities to extend the mine's life.
"It is important for the community to understand that while KCGM endeavours to extend the life of the operations, the gold price is variable and economically viable mineral resources are finite, and one day the mine will close," Mr Cole said.
"Providing a nominal date for mine closure ensures that adequate planning is undertaken by the operation, government and community to minimise potential impacts."
KCGM also announced the closure of two roasters at the Gidji mine at the end of 2015.
The roasters are to be replaced with a large Ultra Fine Grinding (UFG) Mill.
No jobs are expected to be lost in the changeover.
The Super Pit is the biggest gold open pit mine in Australia, producing 850,000 ounces of gold a year and employing more than 1000 workers.
KCGM is a 50/50 joint venture of multinational gold giants, US-based Newmont and Canada's Barrick.