The miner entered into a four-year underground mining contract with Pybar earlier this year.
The contractor is now mobilised on site and has commenced mining activities, including the ground support of the box-cut walls and the first portal blast of the decline. Completion of this activity signifies the commencement of underground operations, marking a significant milestone in the project development schedule.
Commenting on the progress, Heron's managing director Wayne Taylor said: "It is very pleasing to see the start of underground activities at Woodlawn.
"Exploration over the last four years has defined a high-grade, high-quality resource and reserve position, and the access which has now commenced will enable us to deliver underground ore into the processing plant in 2019."
"Elsewhere on site, I am pleased to report that good progress continues to be made with all aspects of the build, and that works remain on schedule for the commencement of commissioning by the end of the year."
At Tailings Dam South (TDS), an internal wall has been constructed and a storage dam created to provide a water source for hydraulic mining operations. Hydraulic mining equipment infrastructure is being installed adjacent to the dam, and the mining of reclaimed material from TDS will provide the first ore for commissioning of the processing plant.
Sedgman continues to advance the EPC works at the main process and paste plant sites in accordance with the project timeline. Current activities are focused on equipment installation, piping and electrical wiring. Almost all major items of equipment have now been delivered to site.
Recruitment of operating personnel is also continuing, with a rapid expansion in on-site team numbers expected over the next few months as operational roles are filled. With mining now under way, the mining technical team is fully focused on supporting mining operations and continuing detailed production planning.
The company is actively seeking to recruit operating staff from the local area, and recently undertook the first Heron Careers Expo in the nearby town of Goulburn. There was strong interest from the community in job opportunities at Woodlawn, with around 100 people coming along to speak with the Heron team members in attendance.