Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ) is just a week away from becoming Australia’s newest gold producer with processing of ore from its Boorara gold mine near Kalgoorlie now underway.

The company has moved 357,000 bank cubic metres (BCM) of material – about 30 per cent more than planned – and mined 80,000 tonnes of ore grading 1.5 grams per tonne (g/t) gold to date.

Milling has commenced at the Lakewood Mill with first gold pour expected next week and regular campaigns scheduled through to January 2021.

The first stage of mining at Boorara will comprise 159,000 tonnes at 1.86g/t to recover 8,700 ounce of gold.

>> scroll down for ASX small cap gold news from Predictive Discovery, Calidus Resources and Artemis Resources

All-in-costs have been estimated at between $1,640 to $1,690 an ounce, which — while high — makes for attractive margins with the Australian gold price that is just below the $2,600 an ounce mark.

The feasibility study released in February  estimated that Boorara Stage 1 could generate $5.8m in free cash flow at the then gold price of $2,350 an ounce.

“Along with capitalising on the strong current gold price, the Stage One development of Boorara will provide mine to mill reconciliation outcomes to de-risk the larger scale development plan,” managing director Jon Price said.

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Explorer grows West African gold discovery

Meanwhile, the first assay results from Predictive Discovery’s (ASX:PDI) large drilling program across the NE Bankan gold discovery within its Kaninko permit in Guinea has returned high grade gold.

Top hits for the drill program in the red hot West African region include 99m at 1.17g/t gold from 1m, 15m at 3.42g/t gold from surface including 4m at 9.33g/t gold and 33m at 1.72g/t gold from 67m including 1m at 22.1g/t gold.

Predictive says the results have widened and confirmed the NE Bankan mineralised zone, which had sent shares in the company rocketing 900 per cent from 0.7c to 7c when it was announced in April.

The company noted that many of the holes ended in the transition from weathered to fresh rock with results suggesting that gold grades continue at depth and into the underlying fresh rock.

Samples from a further 31 holes are awaiting analysis.

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Investors are still flocking to gold plays

The strong gold price has also ensured that companies in the space continue to have a good response to their ‘tin rattling’ efforts.

Calidus Resources (ASX:CAI) has secured firm commitments to raise $25m through a share placement priced at 51c per share, a 8.1 per cent discount to its 15-day volume weighted average price.

Proceeds from the placement will be used to fund early construction work, accelerate exploration and carry out front-end engineering design for its Warrawoona gold project in the Pilbara.

Meanwhile, Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV) has received substantially more bids that it was seeking for its $5.6m share placement that will be used to pursue expanded exploration across its portfolio.

This includes diamond drilling at the Patersons Central gold project and follow-up exploration at its Carlow Castle project.

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