Nova gets to work proving Estelle is a golden girl
Special Report: Nova Minerals has kicked off the much-anticipated 2020 exploration program at its Estelle Gold Project in Alaska’s prolific Tintina Belt, which is expected to result in a significant expansion of the project’s existing 2.5 million-ounce resource.
Nova (ASX: NVA, OTC: NVAAF) announced this morning that a diamond drill rig was now turning at Block B, one of two zones that currently make up the Korbel deposit at Estelle, marking the start of the program.
Korbel is one of 15 known targets the company has identified within the 220km2 Estelle tenements. Across Block A and Block B, it hosts the project’s entire 2.5 million-ounce inferred resource.
The main objective of the 2020 exploration program is to significantly grow the Estelle resource through further drilling of Blocks A and B at Korbel, testing for extensions at Blocks C and D and appraising the potential of the RPM and Shoeshine targets.
Nova is targeting the addition of 2-5 million ounces of gold to the Estelle resource through this work and has reason to be confident of achieving towards the higher end of that range.
“Importantly, our 2.5Moz inferred resource was achieved using an average drill depth of 100 metres,” chairman Avi Kimelman said.
“Induced Polarisation (IP) chargeability results show that the mineralisation is present at 300 metres below surface.
“This program is planned to test down to the 500-metre level, or five times the depth of the current resource area.
“We remain committed to proving that the Estelle Gold Camp is of global significance on par with Donlin Creek in terms of size and Fort Knox in terms of geology.”
Donlin Creek is a 40 million-ounce undeveloped gold deposit owned by Novagold and Barrick Gold to the west of Estelle on the Tintina Belt.
Fort Knox, which is owned by Kinross Gold, is an intrusive-related gold deposit to the north-east of Estelle.
In a reseach note on Nova released in January, Sydney-based broking firm Martin Place Securities (MPS) observed that “geophysical tools such as IP and chargeability work extremely well in the very young and fresh rock in these glaciated regions and provide excellent delineation of potential mineralisation”.
“The 2.5Moz resource at Korbel and any of the other 14 targets on the 220km2 tenement could make this a 20Moz district resource,” MPS added.
With a second rig due to mobilise to site shortly, Nova intends to complete 7,000-12,000 of RC and diamond drilling at Blocks A and B before delivering a resource upgrade for Korbel in July.
The upgrade is also expected to result in a significant portion of the resource being converted from the inferred category into the higher confidence measured and indicated categories.
The company’s exploration focus will then shift to the C and D targets and subsequently RPM and Shoeshine.
Nova cheaply acquired an option over a portfolio of advanced exploration assets in Alaska including Estelle in November 2017.
In September 2019, after completing several IP surveys and a 29-hole reverse circulation drilling program, the company announced the maiden resource for Korbel.
The resource represented a very low discovery cost of less than $1 per ounce.
In its January note, MPS said the 2020 exploration program “should ensure discovery costs remain very low”.