Nova Minerals (OTC: NVAAF) has confirmed an increase in the global resource at its flagship Estelle gold project in Alaska to 1.1 billion tonnes grading 0.3 grams per tonne gold for 9.9 million ounces of contained gold.
The resource has now grown to four deposits, all of which remain open, and includes what Nova describes as a “new super high-grade measured component from surface” at the RPM North deposit of 180,000oz at 4.1g/t gold, within a wider 340,000oz at 2.3g/t gold measured and indicated core.
For shareholders, Nova pointed out this equates to 48oz gold per 1,000 Nova shares owned.
Measured and indicated categories now comprises for more than 34% of the resource, which has increased by 13.3% on the 9.6Moz estimate released in December 2021.
The updated resource will allow for detailed mine planning which will be incorporated into Estelle’s phase two scoping study, which is due for completion in the April quarter.
Measured and indicated RPM core
The scoping study will be based on a mining scenario commencing at the 340,000oz measured and indicated core of RPM.
The high-grade, at-surface and undeveloped zone will be the initial focus of mining, and is expected to generate value for Nova shareholders through project returns and a reduced payback period.
Nova said geological observations to date combined with an upcoming drilling program provide “real potential” for the starter pit at RPM to yield a much higher gold resource.
Pre-feasibility trade-off studies have continued in parallel with the scoping study work and are expected to provide a strong basis for project development and financing.
Aggressive exploration programs during this year will be focused proximal to the RPM area, as well as at a highly-prospective 3km long polymetallic outcrop at the nearby Stoney prospect.
Much greater resource
Managing director Christopher Gerteisen said RPM could hold a much greater resource.
“RPM continues to be the jewel in our crown … with geological observations to date and this year’s drilling program to commence shortly, we believe real potential exists for the starter pit [at RPM] to yield a much higher gold resource,” he said.
“This zone already constitutes one of the world’s largest high-grade undeveloped open pit gold deposits from surface.”
He said the company was actively building a pipeline of deposits to continue to increase Estelle’s life of mine, with more potential discoveries on the horizon.