There’s never a bad time to hit high-grade gold in WA’s Goldfields. But as a high-profile mining boss looks to build an empire, hits like those recently reported by Carnavale Resources look particularly juicy.

An active WA junior explorer with gold projects at Kookynie and Ora Banda and nickel at Grey Dam, Carnavale (ASX:CAV) is making plenty of noise from its high-grade Kookynie gold project at a time when high-grade could mean high demand as a regional consolidation story ramps up.

Driving that narrative is Genesis Minerals (ASX:GMD), helmed by Raleigh Finlayson of Saracen and Northern Star (ASX:NST) fame, which early in July made a $111 million scrip bid for gold producer Dacian Gold (ASX:DCN).

That would unite Dacian’s struggling Mount Morgans gold project – complete with processing plant near Laverton – with Genesis’ 2-million-ounce Leonora gold projects.

It won’t be all she wrote for regional gold consolidation, according to esteemed resources columnist Barry FitzGerald in his recent Stockhead column.

Barry has highlighted Finlayson’s track record in growing Saracen and the resumption of consolidation talks between Genesis and Gwalia gold mine owner St Barbara as an indication that Genesis had empiric plans for the Goldfields.

Not the evil, Star Wars-style Empire either. We’re talking the sort of consolidation that in the current gold climate would make marginal projects viable – and that’s where Carnavale’s work could factor in, according to CEO Humphrey Hale.

The company is currently drilling at its high-grade Kookynie project, which is wedged in close proximity of Genesis’ Laverton project with a mineral resource of 39.3 million tonnes at 1.6 grams per tonne for 2Moz, Saturn Metals’ (ASX:STN) Apollo Hill project ft 35.9Moz at 0.8g/t for 944,000oz, and the historic Champion and Cosmopolitan mines currently the subject of a drawn-out takeover battle between Metalicity (ASX:MCT) and Nex Metals Exploration (ASX:NME).

Exploration to date has unveiled a series of standout results from Carnavale’s ground, including the McTavish East discovery where intercepts included 16m at 20.92g/t from 161m and 4m at 17.82g/t from 78m.

The high grade is of great significance here, according to Hale, given the relatively low grades of the major resources in the areas surrounding the Kookynie project.

“You only need to look at the way Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) valued the high grade Vivien mine in their portfolio and then their acquisition of Spectrum to get hold of the high -grade Penny West mine a few years back, and what that actually meant for them,” he said.

“When they were mining Vivien, it consisted of a negligible portion of the feed through the mill but generated significant revenue from 300km away – it was critically important.

“This is how we see the opportunity for our high grade material in the region, we could be able to add that little bit of sugar to all sorts of lower grade deposits around – things that otherwise wouldn’t be able to economically move.”

Having hit the standout intercepts at McTavish East, Carnavale’s work is now designed to better understand the textural and structural information from the ground and add depth extents to the known mineral envelope.

Carnavale has also carried out aircore drilling between McTavish East and its Champion South discovery, assessing a prospective corridor over a kilometre long.

Old ground, new tricks

It’s often surprising when new gold discoveries are made in established areas like the Goldfields, where exploration has been ongoing for more than a century.

I mean… It’s in the name.

But despite the long history of gold exploration, discoveries like that at McTavish East are still being made.

Hale said this was down to new approaches being taken to find resources which would otherwise lay untouched.

“Where we’re looking is undercover, and in a district that’s notorious for having high-grade, small deposits,” he said.

“When the old timers found their deposits they were all poking out of the ground to some degree, without minimal transported material over the top.

“Where the transported materials sits, the ground is extremely depleted in metals including gold and there’s no real geochemical response in the regolith.

“What that means is, if you do any surface sampling, you get absolutely no response.”

What that has meant is CAV has dedicated a great deal of its exploration efforts to understanding the nature and structure of the mineralisation it’s found at Kookynie – a process which gives it a greater read on its project and the potential riches below.

“You need to be able to read the structure from the aeromagnetics, and you need to have a methodical process to understand the anomalies in detail,” Hale said.

More exploration in the works

With the results expected to flow from drilling at Kookynie, CAV will soon get drill rigs on the ground at the Ora Banda deposit, following up an aircore program in May which increased its understanding of a gold-bearing system.

This work will follow up the Carnage and Highlander prospects – two high priority targets to be tested with further aircore and RC drilling.

The company also expects the results of moving-loop electromagnetic surveying carried out recently at the Grey Dam nickel sulphide project to be reported in Q3.

With more than $3.2 million in the bank at June 30 and a significant pipeline of results in the way in a region hot with interest, there should be no shortage of news flowing from Carnavale in the second half of 2022.




This article was developed in collaboration with Carnavale 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.