Advanced exploration company Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) has commenced reverse circulation drilling as part of a scoping study for the development of its Horn Island gold project in the Torres Strait region of north Queensland.
The program comprises 49 tightly-spaced holes for a total 1,960 metres to a depth of 40m adjacent to the historic open pit mine at the southern side of the Horn Island resource.
It aims to test the ability to define gold distribution from grade control spaced data and hopes to benefit the economics of a potential mining operation through improved waste definition.
The initial 49 holes will be followed by another 43 reverse circulation holes for 648m to test the profile of legacy gold mining stockpiles adjacent to the Horn Island resource.
Legacy drilling is designed to provide an initial assessment of low-grade gold within the stockpiles which are estimated to have a volume of more than 3.3 million cubic metres.
In 2017, a series of results from selective surface grab sampling across the mine’s waste areas and historic loose rock infrastructure returned best results of more than 5 grams per tonne gold.
Indicative grades from the low-grade stockpile area included 79.1g/t, 36.9g/t, 26.2g/t, 21.5g/t, 9.65g/t, 8.61g/t and 6.18g/t gold.
Alice Queen said while the legacy program presents a degree of uncertainty, it could enable assessment of the stockpiles’ value and benefit potential mining operations as a source of future gold inventory.
The Horn Island scoping study kicked off earlier this year to explore the economics of a potential open pit operation at the historic mine.
It will include data from a completed phase one drilling campaign, results from updated metallurgical testwork, and results from pilot-scale ore sorting testwork designed to assess the amenability of mineralisation to ore sorting techniques.
Alice Queen said the project’s existing open pit inferred resource of 7.9 million tonnes at 1.9g/t gold for 492,000 ounces gold will be updated as part of the study process and will form the basis of development work moving forward.
New gold zone
In June, Alice Queen announced it had discovered a new broad gold zone at Horn Island, focused on three chargeability anomalies identified from a dipole-dipole induced polarisation (DDIP) survey.
The company said the discovery further demonstrates the widespread nature of gold mineralisation across Horn Island.