Norwest unveils ‘bonus’ 65,500oz gold resource, accelerates low cost production options
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Special Report: This shallow, easy-to-mine gold resource at Bulgera will be the subject of fast-tracked development studies.
Norwest Minerals (ASX: NWM) was able to announce a maiden gold resource — 2 million tonnes grading 1.03 grams per tonne (g/t) gold totalling 65,500 ounces – at the newly acquired Bulgera project without drilling a single hole itself.
That’s because the historic project came with an extensive exploration, development, and mining database, including surface drilling down to about 100m.
A decent chunk of this new resource is hosted in softer, near-surface oxide and partly oxidised rock, which makes it potentially easy to mine.
This material is now the subject of near-term, low-cost mining studies, which could include heap leach processing and/or the use of a portable processing plant.
If this shallow ore grading 1.65g/t gold was economic during the two mining phases (in the 80s and early 2000s), when the gold price was less than $20 per gram, Norwest is confident mining studies will deliver a positive outcome on today’s +$65 per gram gold price.
“On its historical database alone, the Bulgera gold project is already stacking up as a potential short-term money maker,” chief executive Charlies Schaus says.
“Our careful data review and consolidation has confirmed the size and tenor of the remnant gold resources for an estimated 65,500 ounces to initiate Norwest’s gold inventory.
“Importantly, the majority of the new resources report as easy access, low-cost tonnes.”
Discovering the next Marymia
But Schaus says the real excitement lies in the drilling of the Bulgera mafic-ultramafic mine sequence — below 100m from surface.
This is where higher-grade gold mineralisation occurs elsewhere along the Plutonic Well Greenstone belt.
Since acquiring the Marymia tenements in 2016, neighbouring explorer Vango Mining (ASX:VAN) is enjoying major success drilling below 100m.
This includes Vango’s flagship deposit, Trident (1.59 million tonnes grading 8g/t gold for 410,000oz), as well as more recent drill campaigns at the Marwest and Triple-P gold prospects.
At Bulgera, just 140 of the 422 historic drill holes extend below 50 vertical metres and only eight penetrate below the 100 vertical metre level.
Norwest plans to run this deeper drilling and a scoping study to look at initial production options simultaneously.
“It’s going to be a two-pronged approach; get into production as quickly as possible, and undertake the deeper exploration drilling below 100m,” Schaus says.