Brightstar’s unique advantage draws Laverton exploration expert
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A Goldfields exploration veteran of nearly 25 years, Brightstar Resources boosted the expertise at its namesake project significantly last month with the appointment of Ian Pegg.
Pegg, whose last role was as exploration superintendent at Gold Fields Australia’s Granny Smith Mining Company, has extensive experience in the prospective Laverton region where the project is found, and is tackling a new challenge with Brightstar (ASX:BTR).
Brightstar’s landholding sits in close proximity to Gold Fields’ Laverton assets – spanning the Granny Smith holdings which includes the world-class Wallaby and Sunrise Dam mines.
Pegg’s involvement with those projects, as well as an extensive history across companies in the Goldfields region, leaves him well placed to understand an area he describes as a “unique beast”.
“I spent the last three years with a fairly sizeable budget and team to look through all the Granny Smith holdings, which are quite adjacent to a lot of Brightstar’s stuff,” he told Stockhead.
“Gold Fields were investing quite heavily in the region at the time to ensure the longevity of their Granny Smith mill – they have one of the largest gold orebodies in the state with Wallaby, but there’s only one mine and you can only pull so much from one hole, so they were seeking out other opportunities in the area.
“What I learned from that is that Laverton is a unique beast as far as gold opportunity is concerned.
“It’s been fairly ignored in comparison to the majority of the Norseman to Agnew strip of ground which includes Kalgoorlie-Boulder. It’s further east, we have different terrains and it doesn’t behave in quite the same ways, which makes it a unique discovery story at the best of times.”
While Gold Fields’ holdings in the region are significant, they are surrounded by few other mines of great note and pose an interesting question for those like Brightstar.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about these projects before I took on the role, and when I looked through the data and the drillsets and things like that, I could see a number of targets that were worthy of immediate follow-up,” Pegg said.
“If I saw these numbers in any company, I would be very interested in going and following them up. From my perspective it’s a walk-up start, and a case of getting our heads around these projects so we can hopefully do something quite quickly.
“We’ve got two monsters nearby, and a whole lot of relatively small ones in the area, with nothing in-between.
“It seems unlikely that there wouldn’t be anything in-between. There is still, in my opinion, great, untapped opportunity there.”
Brightstar’s ambition is to tap that opportunity, and its assets allow it to do so with a significant advantage against those without infrastructure in the region.
The company owns a 330,000 tonne-per-annum plant with significant throughput expansion potential just 33km east of Laverton.
“Most other junior explorers don’t have the opportunity to walk into something that is mostly drilled out already, rejig the model with modern numbers, potentially do some drilling to confirm some of the more extraneous stuff towards the edges, and have access to established infrastructure,” Pegg said.
Right now, the exploration focus is on putting data together in a unit so it can be reviewed equally, with targets then to be determined for strategic attack.
“I’m very keen to be drilling later this year, and potentially have some reserves to start planning mines in the not-too-distant future,” Pegg said.
Brightstar’s landholding near Laverton includes the Brightstar project, which spans three mineral resources for a combined resource of 7.19 million tonnes at 1.9 grams per tonne gold for 445,000 ounces.
The company also has exploration planned for the Hawks Nest prospect this year, and in February acquired an underexplored exploration tenement adjacent to its existing landholdings.
This article was developed in collaboration with Brightstar Resources, 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.