Artemis takes step forward on Pilbara play – but the gold rush has slowed to a trickle
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Artemis Resources has made new progress in efforts to process Pilbara gold through its Radio Hill plant, but a review of the top Pilbara gold stocks show investors are staying away from the sector.
Scroll down for our table showing how Pilbara gold stocks have fared so far this year.
Artemis (ASX:ARV) — one of the pioneers of last year’s Pilbara gold nugget rush — has optimised its Weerianna resource of 1 million tonnes at 2.2 grams per tonne at a gold price of $1650 per ounce to assess the potential first four months of feed.
Artemis is targeting a rate of 50,000 tonnes per month starting in June.
“Current plans are to kick-off with a gold only strategy to commission the plant’s new gold circuit for a number of months,” executive chairman David Lenigas told investors.
“Weerianna, Silica Hills and the gold-bearing conglomerates in the area are all currently being assessed.”
The optimisation of the Weerianna deposit, which is 35km from the Radio Hill plant, identified two initial starter pits – the stage-one East pit and the North West pit.
A reverse circulation drilling program is planned for Weerianna in April to infill the resource and test for extensions along strike and down dip.
Artemis hopes to have an updated resource before the end of June.
The shares closed Monday down 3 per cent at 18.5c.
Artemis and Canadian partner Novo Resources are responsible for kicking off the Pilbara gold rush in July last year, when they revealed they had found gold nuggets at their Purdy’s Reward joint venture south of Karratha.
The initial find and subsequent discoveries by other players in the area were well received by investors and saw many ASX-listed explorers enjoy substantial share price gains.
However, as our table below shows, the majority of the Pilbara gold players have lost ground so far this year.
Scroll table for full list.
The exceptions were Taruga Gold (ASX:TAR), which has climbed 120 per cent in the first three months of the year, along with Tando Resources (ASX:TDO) and Viking Mines (ASX:VKA), which are up 59 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.
Hardey Resources (ASX:HDY), however, has slumped 61.5 per cent, DGO Gold (ASX:DGO) wiped off 47 per cent and Artemis is down 32 per cent.