Nova’s Alaskan expansion push yields early results
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Special Report: Nova Minerals’ bid to significantly expand the resource at its Estelle Gold Camp in Alaska is off to a strong start with the receipt of results from two deep diamond holes drilled recently at the 2.5 million ounce Korbel deposit.
Nova (ASX: NVA) anticipates adding 2-5 million ounces to the resource at Korbel this year and upgrading the confidence in the resource through an aggressive 20,000m drilling campaign.
On Tuesday, the company reported the first results from this resource development program, with hole KBDH-001 returning 399.56m at 0.34 g/t gold from a depth of 1.86m below surface and hole KBDH-002 returning 539.68m at 0.27 g/t gold from 2.26m.
Nova said the results demonstrated the continuation of grade for more than 200m below the existing Korbel resource, which extends to a depth of about 300m and has been established using an average drill depth of just 100m.
“KBDH-001 and KBDH-002 demonstrate the strong potential for significant extensions to the Korbel deposit and the world class nature of the deposit, with the continuation of grade at depth and the consistency of mineralisation starting at 2m below the surface,” CEO Chris Gerteisen said.
“In addition, we are starting to identify where the higher-grade pods are within the deposit as we look to input this data into our feasibility models on our path to production at the Estelle Gold Camp.
“The second diamond drill rig is now in operation on Pad 4 with further results to follow. The additional rig brings greater efficiencies, with the view to keeping the resource discovery cost extremely low.”
Nova has now drilled eight diamond holes at Block B. The flow of results is likely to accelerate with the addition of the second rig.
While the grades from KBDH-001 and KBDH-002 might not seem spectacular, they are exactly in line with what you’d expect for a bulk tonnage, high margin gold mining operation of the kind Nova envisages establishing at Estelle.
There are several of these operations along the Tintina Gold Belt that stretches across Alaska and into Canada including Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox mine and Victoria Gold Corp’s Dublin Gulch mine.
One of the keys to the robust economics of Fort Knox, Dublin Gulch and mines like them is that they employ bulk mining, where large tonnages are moved and a large portion of the material qualifies as ore.
Both Fort Knox and Dublin Gulch use a cut-off grade of 0.1 and 0.15g/t respectively, meaning that any material above this grade can be mined economically.
They are essentially big earthmoving exercises with very low strip ratios (the amount of waste material that has to be moved to get the same amount of ore) of around 1:1 or less and low mining costs of less than $US2.20 per tonne.
Both Fort Knox and Dublin Gulch produce more than 200,000 ounces of gold a year at all-in sustaining costs of US$570-850 an ounce.