Firefinch is making good progress towards its goal of achieving +100,000oz per annum gold production in 2022 with the start of ore haulage from the Viper deposit.

Detailed screen fire assays of core from its first diamond hole (MRD0001) that confirmed the continuity of high-grade gold mineralisation below the Morila Super Pit in Mali have also increased the grade of the 10.5m intersection up from 30.4 grams per tonne (g/t) gold to 34g/t gold.

More recent drilling has also returned wide intercepts from Morila North West, excellent grade control results from N’Tiola, and further high-grade results from Viper, with Firefinch (ASX:FFX) adding that mining at N’Tiola will begin in November.

Drilling is also progressing with five rigs currently operating, four of which are focussed on following up recent and historical high-grade intercepts such as MRD0001 as well as improving delineation of mineralisation within initial mining areas to the west.

“We are very pleased with progress at our Morila operations, which continue to advance towards our goal of achieving more than 100,000 ounces of gold production in 2022,” managing director Dr Michael Anderson said.

“While our Q3 production was impacted by the wet season, the continued improvement in grade, recovery and the commencement of mining at the satellite pits provides a solid platform for next year.

“It is also very encouraging that our drilling continues to intersect significant mineralisation, as well as highlighting high-grade targets for follow up.”

He added that commissioning of its new laboratory facility at Morila – a collaboration with MSALABS – is expected in the coming weeks.

“High quality laboratory services are a key part of managing and maintaining best practice processes and this new facility is aimed at helping us to achieve that,” Anderson explained.

firefinch morila viper gold haulage ore
Haulage from the Viper open pit. Pic: Supplied


Drill results

The company noted that the high-variable results returned from high-grade structures at Morila, which plant records show is due to free gold making up to 40% of the mineralisation, has led to the decision to re-analyse all high-grade samples with fire screen assays to ensure higher levels of accuracy in resource estimation.

Follow-up drilling to test for extensions to the high-grade intersection in MRD0001 is underway with a focus to the west and below the first hole.

The second hole MRD0002 – located 25m to the east – returned a 6m intersection grading 2.62g/t gold from a depth of 324.1m.

Resource drilling is also underway on the western side of the Morila open pit to update the current open pittable resource at Morila, which currently stands at 21.2 million tonnes at 1.6g/t gold in the higher confidence Indicated category and 17.5Mt at 1.37g/t gold in the Inferred category.

Firefinch says this will inform an update of the Stage 1 pit design, enable the conversion of deeper Inferred Resources to Indicated Resources while allowing detailed planning of the Stage 2 pit design and a further refinement to the mining schedule.

Six holes from the northwest of the deposit have intersected multiple mineralised zones with results that are generally in line with those anticipated from the mineral resource, though discrete higher-grade intersections have been identified that will be targeted in follow-up drilling.

Some notable results from these holes include 9.2m at 3.01g/t gold from 210m with a 3.7m zone grading 6.81g/t gold from 211m, 13m at 2.2g/t gold from 291.5m including 3.3m at 6.93g/t gold from 299.5m and 42m at 1.39g/t gold from a depth of 263.9m.

The company added two of the holes intersected a tonalite intrusive with broad zones of anomalous gold adjacent to mineralisation.

With previous studies at Morila suggesting a strong link between intrusive bodies and mineralisation, Firefinch noted that a better understanding of this relationship is the key to developing a sophisticated geological and exploration model for the Morila gold camp.

Drilling at the Viper deposit also continues to return high-grade intersections below the current resource with a top hit of 9m at 5.65g/t gold from 18m.

Mineralisation at Viper has now been defined over 1.5km of strike and to depths of 120m.

This remains open at depth and drilling is now underway to test the continuity of mineralisation at 150m below surface and to provide data for the finalisation of the mineralisation model.

Meanwhile, drilling at the N’Tiola deposit to delineate high-grade zones within the pit design have been completed, returning results such as 3m at 16.3g/t gold from 39m, 13m at 2.24g/t gold from 5m and 11m at 1.87g/t gold from 22m.


Next steps

Firefinch is continuing drilling at Morila to grow resources and ore reserves by optimising the initial stages of open cut mining, and testing the potential for underground mining.

High-grade zones intersected by this program will also provide priority targets for ongoing drilling in 2022.

Open pit mining will continue to ramp up with primary mill feed to be provided by the Morila Pit 5, N’Tiola and Viper pits as the tailings resource is depleted.

Pre-stripping activities at the Morila Super Pit will commence in the first quarter of 2022, which will facilitate a ramp up in production to levels above 100,000 ounces in 2022.

This article was developed in collaboration with Firefinch, 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.