Nova not far off enhancing 2.5Moz resource at Estelle
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Special Report: Investors will get a better idea as to just how big Nova Minerals’ Estelle Gold Camp in Alaska could be next month when the company delivers an interim resource upgrade for the project.
Nova (ASX:NVA) said this morning that it would be in a position to announce the resource update shortly as a result of the accelerated drilling program at Block B of the Korbel deposit.
Korbel already contains an inferred resource of 2.5 million ounces of gold, derived from drilling averaging less than 100m in depth. In April, the company brought in two diamond rigs to site to speed up the process of growing the deposit and has intersected thick zones of mineralisation in several holes drilled to a depth of more than 500m.
The resource update will take into account results from as many as 12 holes from the current program as well as reverse circulation holes drilled in 2019 and resampled historic holes.
“This work is vital for management to understand where to target the next round of infill holes upon completion of pads 1-4, thereby continuing to build tonnage at the Korbel deposit,” Nova CEO Chris Gerteisen said.
To date, the company has confirmed that Blocks A and B at Korbel span over 1.1km of strike with an average width of 500m.
The mineralisation remains open, has been consistently traced to a vertical depth of 350m and generally starts from surface.
Nova plans to complete a further 36 holes at Korbel as part of its 2020 drilling program, which with further quality assurance/quality control work, should allow the company to declare a maiden indicated resource for the deposit by December.
The indicated resource will give Nova the basis for starting economic studies on a “starter pit” development at Block B and will also be the trigger for the commencement of baseline environmental studies.
Blocks A and B represent a small portion of the Korbel prospect area, and Korbel is but one of 15 known prospects with the Estelle camp, which speaks to the potential size the project could ultimately reach.
“We are yet to drill test the Blocks C and D, Cathedral, You Beauty, Isabella and Sweet Jenny targets, all within the Korbel prospect area, as well as the outer line advanced prospects at RPM and Shoeshine,” Gerteisen said.
He has publicly stated his belief that Estelle could one day rival the nearby Donlin Creek mine owned by Barrick Gold and NovaGold, which is a 40 million-ounce behemoth.
Like Donlin Creek and other mines along the Tintina Belt in North America, Nova envisages Estelle developing as a bulk tonnage, high margin operation employing heap leach processing technology.
The resources underpinning these operations are bulk tonnage, but the mines are very economical as they are essentially massive earthmoving exercises.