As good timing goes, Emerald Resources’ (ASX:EMR) is exquisite with gold prices remaining close to the US$1,900 ($2,448.8) per ounce mark as it starts first ore feed and wet commissioning of its Okvau gold processing plant in Cambodia.

The company has already commissioned the crushing circuit, stockpiled 245,000t of ore and has ramped up gold in circuit, all in preparation for the maiden gold pour this month.

Okvau has a resource of 1.14 million ounces grading 2 grams per tonne (g/t) gold that includes an ore reserve of 907,000oz.

It is expected to produce 106,000oz of gold per annum at an all-in-sustaining-cost of US$754/oz.

Using a conservative US$1,450/oz gold price, Emerald’s project is expected to generate post-tax net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR) of US$238m and 57 per cent respectively.

Both NPV and IRR are measures of a project’s profitability.

Payback is expected in just 1.7 years and there is significant potential for Emerald to grow the current resource.

The current gold price is supported by physical demand for the precious metal with Kitco News reporting that central banks remain net buyers for the second month in a row.

Emerald Resources (ASX:EMR) share price chart


Gold exploration

Maximus Resources (ASX:MXR) has kicked off a 1,500m reverse circulation infill drill program at its Wattle Dam gold mine about 24km from Kambalda, Western Australia.

This program is part of the company’s current multi-target campaign which includes regional prospects such as Yilmia and Karramindie as well as extension and infill drilling at the Larkinville project.

A recent review of legacy data at Wattle Dam had highlighted a broad zone of remnant unmined carbonate-quartz stockwork with significant gold mineralisation intersections, adjacent to the previously mined high-grade shoot.

Historical drill intersections include 12m at 121.7g/t gold and 3m at 35.7g/t gold.

The Wattle Dam stockwork mineralisation extends from the surface and closely follows the plunge of the mined out high-grade shoot at Wattle Dam, suggesting that the mineralisation in the stockwork is likely a fundamental element in the mineral system.

Maximus Resources (ASX:MXR) share price chart

Meanwhile, Krakatoa Resources (ASX:KTA) had identified multiple large gold anomalies at its Rand project in New South Wales’ highly prospective Lachlan Fold Belt.

Over 20 extensive, high tenor and coherent pathfinder multi-element IRGS anomalies identified were identified by the company’s auger soil geochemical survey, the first regional-scale gold focused exploration program undertaken in this area.

The company noted that many of these multi-element anomalies are coincident with gold anomalies while others support and are parallel with shallow historical workings and rock chips.

It will now carry out infill and extensional geochemical surveys to follow up these first pass results.

Krakatoa Resources (ASX:KTA) share price chart