Former aquaculture player Cervantes has literally struck gold in Western Australia – and high-grade gold at that – sending its shares through the roof.

The stock rose 142 per cent to an intra-day high of 1.7c after Cervantes (ASX:CVS) told investors it had hit gold grades of up to 202.8 grams per tonne (g/t) – over 6 ounces per tonne – at just 33m deep.

Anything above 5g/t is considered high-grade.

The shares settled back to 1c by 1.15pm AEST.

The company is undertaking drilling at its Albury Heath project, which is in the same region as Metals X’s (ASX:MLX) Bluebird gold mine and Doray Minerals’ (ASX:DRM) Andy Well mine.

Cervantes made the switch from seafood and aquaculture to gold exploration in 2016.

High-grade gold discoveries close to surface are becoming harder to find in Australia.

Miners are having to go to massive depths now to find the high-grade ore after the downturn forced many of them to use a method known as “high grading”, which means taking only the highest grade gold close to surface because it is the most economic.

Cervantes (ASX:CVS) shares over the past year.
Cervantes (ASX:CVS) shares over the past year.

Gold producer Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) holds the record of the deepest hole drilled so far after the gold miner hit a depth of 3217m at its Jundee operations near Wiluna in Western Australia in March.

Cervantes says its discovery of high-grade gold close to surface has “possibly extended the resource”.

Near surface mineralisation has been inadequately sampled in past drilling, according to the company.

“Increasing this area of the resource will bolster the economics of open pit mining,” Cervantes said.

Shares had edged back slightly just before midday AEST, but were still up over 57 per cent at 1.1c.