The arrival of the first rig has enabled Nova Minerals Limited (ASX: NVA) to kick off a significant drilling campaign to advance the resource development programmes at the company’s district scale Estelle Gold Project in Alaska.
Managing Director, Avi Kimelman said additional rigs will be mobilised to the project as the company continues to ramp up the drilling program significantly over the course of the year.
“Tier One drilling contractor Ruen Drilling Inc. has now embarked on the 2020 Resource Development Drilling and Exploration Campaign at the Estelle Gold Project,” Mr Kimelman said.
The diamond drill campaign is designed to add mineral resources at Blocks A and B at Estelle, with IP chargeability modelling to 300m showing mineralisation remains open at depth.
A previous drill hole which intercepted of 0.40 g/t Au over 460 metres goes beyond the lower iso-surface boundary demonstrating that the mineralisation extends to 400 metres depth and beyond.
The resource development drilling programme will initially target the “Starter Pit” at Korbel Block B with Pads 3 and 4.
Mr Kimelman said the location of Pad 3 is within the vicinity of a high-grade intercept of 27.6 g/t Au over 1.5 metres returned from hole OX-RC-16 drilled in the summer of 2019. In addition, re-sampling of hole SE12-004, also in the vicinity of Pad 3, returned a broad intercept of 1.20 g/t Au over 70.1m.
Drilling from Pad 3 will continue to expand the Resource laterally and at depth by targeting mineralisation down to the 500m level. The additional data density from drilling Pad 3 and 4 will also increase confidence of the Resource and shift tonnes from Inferred into the Measured & Indicated categories. The global objective is to push the “Starter Pit” towards a feasibility study in 2021 on the path to production.
Nova has also defined outside drill targets at Korbel within Blocks A, C, D, and Cathedral. The company is undergoing further desktop studies on the Korbel prospect and will update the market when all data is compiled.
“Like I have said in the past not all that many opportunities come around to drill a system this large such as what we have at Estelle, with an established 2.5Moz inferred gold resource on a small area and open significantly in all directions,” Mr Kimelman said.
“Our exploration efforts to date have produced results at an extremely low cost per discovered ounce and we intend to maintain this run rate.
“This is now an exciting period for Nova as we are committed to amplifying our exploration with new targets being uncovered on top of the 15 previously stated. Our project development efforts in 2020 are centred to significantly increasing the current 2.5Moz resource in both size and confidence.
“Most importantly our 2.5Moz Inferred Resource was achieved using and average drill depth of less than 100m. Induced Polarisation chargeability results show that the mineralization is present at 300m below surface. This program is now planned to test down to 500m level or 5 times the current depth of the current Resource area.
“Additional to that, we anticipate moving the Korbel starter pit to development stage during the course of 2020 on the path to production.
“The company looks forward to this program and is confident with its prioritised systematic exploration strategy, the team’s experience and commitment.
“We are now well on track and confident to solidify the Estelle Project as the next emerging major gold camp.”