Gold explorers know they are on the trail to development — or a takeover — once a project hits the magical 1 million ounce mark.

It’s enough to get potential project lenders to the table.

It’s enough to run a 100,000oz operation for ~10 years (or ~200,000oz for five).

It’s more than enough to turn the heads of ore-starved, growth-focused majors, who often find it easier to buy ounces than find them themselves.

And with gold only beginning to return to favour this year, there are are several advanced +1Moz ASX gold exploration stocks trading below their peak.

Here are 12 of them, in no particular order. We’ll drop another 12 in Part 2, due out soon.



Ounces: 1.1Moz

Market Cap: $42m

The ‘El Zorro’ gold project (85% owned) “is one of the largest and most prospective gold projects in Chile”, TSO says.

The current resource of resource of 30.5Mt @ 1.12g/t Au for 1.1Moz (at 0.3g/t gold cut-off) comes from exploring just less than 5% of its tenure.

The main deposit ‘Ternera’ starts at surface and is open in all directions. Drilling to grow the resource is ongoing.

Regionally, TSO is punching holes into multiple ‘Ternera-like’ undrilled gold targets up to 7km long and 6km wide.



Ounces: 3.3Moz

Market Cap: $20m

BEZ’s substantial 3.3Moz ‘Bau’ gold project in Malaysia also includes an additional 4.9Moz – 9.3Moz exploration target.

Eight holes have now been successfully completed at the ‘Jugan’ prospect with assays for eight holes reported to date and a further 10 holes pending release.

Latest results include thick hits like 64m @ 1.9g/t and 67m @ 1.8g/t from ~140m depth.

Drilling has now moved to the 644,000oz ‘Bekajang’ prospect to grow that resource.



Ounces: 1.1Moz

Market Cap: $20m

The hard-drilling South Australian explorer listed in June 2021 following a $15m IPO.

Earlier this week it completed drilling at its Tunkillia (965,000oz) and Tarcoola (no resource, yet) targets. Assays are pending.

Tarcoola is a brownfields site within trucking distance of BDG’s processing plant, while Tunkillia sits on a host structure extending 7km north and 7km south of the existing resource.

Over 20,000m of drilling is expected over the next six months to grow BDG’s Tarcoola and Tunkillia project footprints, making new regional discoveries, and building on the current ~1.1Moz resource.



Ounces: 2.3Moz gold eq

Market Cap: $140m

The explorer has increased resources 250% to 1.8Moz gold, 64,300t copper, 584,000oz silver and 11,100 cobalt at the ‘Minyari Dome’ project in one of WA’s top exploration hotspots, the Paterson Province.

Is 2.3 million gold equivalent ounces large enough to put AZY on the radar of the ounce-hungry major miners right next door?

“The strategic significance of this resource to Antipa is huge, providing us with the potential to deliver a standalone mining and processing operation located in the rapidly advancing tier-one Paterson Province, nestled between Newcrest’s (ASX:NCM) Telfer mine and Rio’s (ASX:RIO) Winu development project, and surrounded by our Paterson Farm-in Project with IGO (ASX:IGO),” AZY managing director Roger Mason says.

Antipa has begun a Scoping Study, the first proper look at the economics of building a project.



Ounces: 1.5Moz

Market Cap: $65m

Latest infill drilling results out of the 1.5Moz gold, 10.93Moz silver ‘Sturec’ mine in Slovakia include 173.2m grading 3.27g/t gold and 11.8g/t silver from surface.

This ongoing drilling program was designed to increase confidence in the existing resource (infill drilling), as well as extended mineralisation to the south (extensional drilling).

MTC has an exploration target of between 2.2Moz and 5.1Moz of gold eq, which is in addition to the existing resource.

A scoping study – the first proper look at the economics of building a project — is due out mid June.



Ounces: 1.7Moz

Market Cap: $67m

BRB is progressing its 1.7moz (and growing) Lake Roe gold project near Kalgoorlie, WA, toward development.

The early focus will be 1.5Moz ‘Bombora’, where scoping studies indicate a 3km-long single open pit that will transition to underground.

It has the same size surface footprint as the 60Moz ‘Golden Mile’ deposit in Kalgoorlie, BRB says.

Gold starts at 5m from surface and extends as deep as the explorer has drilled, which 800m below surface and counting.



Ounces: 3.1Moz

Market Cap: $90m

Last month, mid-tier miner Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) announced plans to pay HAV up to $405m for the flagship 1.1Mt copper, 3.1Moz gold, and 23,200t cobalt ‘Kalkaroo’ project in South Australia.

Kalkaroo is at pre-feasibility study stage and is potentially one of Australia’s largest undeveloped open pit copper-gold deposits, right next to OZL’s existing operations.

Meanwhile, the companies will form an exploration alliance to hunt for more giant deposits across HAV’s South Australian tenure, paid for by OZL.



Ounces: 2Moz

Market Cap: $380m

One of Argonaut’s potential junior takeover targets for 2021 wants to be a 300,000oz per annum producer off its own bat.

GMD owns the Ulysses gold project and a host of other prospective deposits around the Menzies and Leonora gold districts.

In April, it boosted gold resources at Leonora by 400,000oz to 2Moz.

The stock rerated September last year after former Saracen/Northern Star (ASX:NST) boss Raleigh Finlayson joined the company and cornerstoned a $20.8m funding package, which also included Northern Star itself and former FMG (ASX:FMG) chief exec Neville Power.



Ounces: 3.65Moz

Market Cap: $250m

New drilling results from the 3.65Moz-and-growing ‘Bankan’ discovery in Guinea include a highlight 41.5m at 5.2g/t gold from 598m depth.

The hits included in yesterday’s announcement targeted areas below the current deeper high-grade core at NE Bankan, which remains ‘open’ at depth and along strike.

These deeper hits have prompted PDI to plan further extensional drilling, to be incorporated in the drill program in the current quarter.

The current and planned drilling will underpin an updated resource, expected to be completed in the September 2022 quarter.

PDI is now up ~2,000% since making the discovery at Bankan in 2020.



Ounces: 9.6Moz

Market Cap: $105m

The gold-lithium stock has partially bounced back after a late Feb gold project scoping study was punished by investors.

The bulk tonnage 200,000ozpa open pit operation at the low grade 9.6Moz ‘Estelle’ project in Alaska would have average all in sustaining costs of $US1,120/oz ($1,518/oz Aussie) and start-up costs of $US424m ($575m Aussie).

NVA is currently planning a drilling program at the higher grade ‘RPM’ target “to deliver a higher average mill feed grade and substantially increase and improve the gold production profile over the life of the project”.

At RPM, one hole delivered 132m at 10.1g/t from within a broader 400m at 3.5g/t intercept – making it one of the best drill holes in the last 10 years globally.

Up to 50,000m of drilling is planned this year, NVA says.



Ounces: 2.43Moz

Market Cap: $75m

BRV’s main game is the 2.43moz ‘Borborema’ gold project in Brazil.

A DFS released in 2019 envisaged a $US99m ($144m) capex, stage 1 mine life of 10.2 years, producing an average 71,250oz of gold a year from a single open pit.

The company is now looking to double planned production to improve project economics.

In April, Aura Minerals launched an all-cash A$0.36 per share takeover bid for BRV valuing the company at ~$91m.



Ounces: 2.9Moz

Market Cap: $20m

GMR has shifted its gaze to the ‘Kada’ gold project in Guinea and is “considering several alternatives for realising value for shareholders” from the 2Moz ‘Kouri’ project in Burkina Faso.

Which means selling it or farming it out.

Evolving into a prize of its own is Kada, where the company has outlined a maiden resource of 25.5Mt at 1.1g/t gold for 930,000oz — the majority of which is shallow oxide mineralisation.

“Golden Rim is focussed on growing the Mineral Resource,” it says.

“Most of the 200km2 project area remains poorly explored and there is considerable upside for the discovery of additional oxide gold mineralisation.”



Ounces: 4.28Moz

Market Cap: $40m

The goldie has secured an up to $75m ‘standby’ financing facility to provide working capital as it advances the 4.28Moz Witwatersrand Basin project (WBP) in South Africa toward production.

This deal – which will see shares allotted to the financier every time WWI uses cash — is separate to the core debt funding program to finance the project construction.

A DFS showed its first stage, the ‘Qala Shadows’ mine, could deliver 663,000oz over a glacial 17-year mine life, with a 5.5-year payback period on its US$50 million development costs and peak steady state production of 53,000ozpa over a 10-year period.

The broader WBP would produce 1.57Moz of gold over a 25-year life of mine, with average steady state production of 80,000ozpa over an 18-year period, according to a scoping study.


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