A major acquisition will thrust gold explorer Anova Metals into the mining spotlight, inking a deal to acquire one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in WA.

Anova (ASX:AWV) has signalled its intention to mould a bright new future with the deal to pick up the 945,000oz Golden Dragon and Fields Find gold projects and change its moniker to Lustre Metals in a taste of its bright future.

Golden Dragon and Fields Find have produced 350,000oz from shallow oxide gold deposits, including 175,000oz under the operation of Minjar Gold between 2013 and 2019.

But they have missed the recent boom in gold prices, which topped US$2000/oz in August 2020 and early 2022, and are back on the way up, fetching over $2600/oz (US$1753/oz) today.

Despite sitting just 12km north-east of Silver Lake Resources’ ultra-high grade Rothsay mine and 60km north of Capricorn Metals’ multi-million ounce Mt Gibson gold project in Western Australia’s historic Murchison gold field, the ground remains historically underexplored.


Anova Metals ASX AWV Lustre
Golden Dragon sits alongside some major gold and base metals deposits. Pic: AWV


Its resource estimate of 19.2Mt at 1.5g/t gold for 945,000oz (461,000oz measured and indicated) is impressive, and still only the tip of the iceberg – the average drill hole depth is just 42m at Golden Dragon and 31m at Fields Find.

While more than 30,000 drill holes have been sunk, processing constraints meant previous owners weren’t looking for fresh rock below oxide resources. Pits ended at an averaged depth of less than 60m.

That means there is plenty of fresh mineralisation to be found beneath and along strike from their existing shallow open pits, with the handful of deeper drill hits producing robust results like 9.05m at 3.47g/t from 435.55m, 11.68m at 4.41g/t from 188.72m and 4m at 19.21g/t from 257m.

A lustrous portfolio

Anova, soon to be Lustre, will soon boast 1.95Moz of gold in resource across two of the world’s best mining jurisdictions at Golden Dragon and the Big Springs project in Nevada.

It will also boast an enviable land holding across the Murchison, with Golden Dragon and Fields Find combining with its nearby Warriedar project to form a monstrous 804sqkm tenement holding across the majority of the Yalgoo-Singleton and Warriedar greenstone belt.

An aggressive drilling campaign searching for free-milling gold targets will take place over the next 24 months to rapidly expand the resource base.

“I am delighted to announce the proposed acquisition of the Golden Dragon and Fields Find Projects to Anova shareholders.

The opportunities for serious and sustained growth are exceptional with this new portfolio, and the fit with our existing gold project in Nevada is ideal,” Anova managing director Dr Amanda Buckingham said.

“With the team we have built, we can shift focus between WA and Nevada as the seasons dictate and maintain a steady pace of development at both projects. I am particularly excited about the upside potential at Fields Find and welcome the addition of copper as a target commodity in our portfolio.

“This acquisition will position the Company as a multi-project, multi-jurisdictional gold and copper exploration and development business. It will allow us to conduct year-round, high-impact exploration activities while optimising the use of our exceptional technical team.”

Drilling is expected to begin as soon as the acquisition closes, with soon to be Lustre shareholders to enjoy a busy 2023.

Anova is also aiming to complete a 10:1 share consolidation subject to shareholder approval.


Anova Metals ASX AWV Lustre
The mine boasts a number of shallow gold open pits, like the Austin pit above. Pic: AWV


Major investment planned

In order to secure the assets Anova will acquire DC Mines, which has picked up the rights to Golden Dragon and Fields Find from Minjar.

Following the announcement of experienced gold executive Mark Connolly as its new chair this month, non-executive chairman Eddie Rigg, who owns 8% of DCM, will step down from the board while Dianmin Chen will step onto the rejigged Lustre board of directors.

He is well known in WA gold circles, as both a director of emerging lithium explorer Global Lithium Resources and the former managing director of Norton Gold Fields, one of WA’s largest gold miners producing around 200,000ozpa from its Paddington processing plant.

It will leave Lustre well-placed to pursue a significant exploration campaign to tap the potential of the Golden Dragon and Field Find assets, which also include an 800,000tpa oxide processing plant on care and maintenance since only 2019, a modern 156 person mine camp, tailings facility, haul road, grid power and water.


Anova Metals ASX AWV Lustre
The project comes with an 800,000tpa mill and mine camp. Pic: AWV


An upcoming 10,000m drill program to be funded by DCM will focus on resource extension and brownfields targets, delivering immediate newsflow after the deal’s completion.

10,000-20,000m of drilling is planned at Big Springs in Nevada through the second half of 2023, with more than 40,000m to be sunk into Golden Dragon by Anova and DCM over the next 12 months.

“The Projects are located in a highly prospective and active mining district, the Murchison Region of Western Australia, which has demonstrated time and again its prospectivity for high grade gold and base metals discoveries,” Buckingham said.

“With an average drilling depth of only 42 metres the Projects are essentially unexplored at depth, and high level geological review work by our technical team has already identified a number of walk-up drill targets which have potential to substantially add to the gold resources already in place.

“Upon closing of the acquisition we intend to begin a significant drilling program, which should provide a steady stream of exciting news flow for shareholders in 2023.

“The proposed rebranding of the Company to Lustre Metals reflects the exceptionally bright opportunity for the enlarged company.

“We look forward with optimism to advancing and developing our gold assets for the benefit of all the Company’s stakeholders in the years ahead.”




This article was developed in collaboration with Anova Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.