Gold explorer Alt Resources (ASX: ARS) continues to find unique ways to meet its goals with a pre-feasibility study and maiden ore reserve on track for delivery next month, despite interruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As with all other mining, exploration and oil and gas companies globally, government COVID-19 directives have impacted Alt, with the company deferring planned drilling programs for the “immediate and near term”.
However, the timing was just right for Alt, which managed to complete its 3,700m reverse circulation program on 11 March at its wider Mt Ida Bottle Creek gold project within Western Australia’s goldfields.
With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly than the government anticipated, Alt opted to safeguard its employees by demobilising its workforce immediately at the conclusion of the drill program.
Working remotely to deliver PFS and reserve
In keeping with hundreds of other companies globally, Alt’s staff and contractors are now all working remotely from around the country and New Zealand to complete the maiden reserve statement for Mt Ida, in addition to the prefeasibility study.
With COVID-19 sweeping the world, the need to transition to remote operations and implement the requisite IT systems created a short delay with delivery of the reserve and feasibility study now anticipated at the end of next month.
Mining Service Agreement cemented
As part of Alt’s strategy to fast-track the Tim’s Find deposit at Mt Ida into mining, the company has finalised its expanded mine plan for the deposit. Alt chief executive officer James Anderson said the company will then submit the mine plan for approval and permitting in “coming weeks”.
“Pending government approval, we anticipate mining operations could commence at Tim’s Find towards the end of Q2 2020 and the major benefit for our Company in the near term is the Blue Cap mining fleet is currently working the Lord Byron deposit at Laverton and its workforce is predominantly from the Kalgoorlie region which is very significant from an operational perspective with the COVID restrictions in place now in WA.”
To move Tim’s Find into operation, Alt recently finalised a mining service agreement with Blue Cap Mining.
The deal paves the way for Blue Cap to provide Alt with a $1.5 million working capital facility to fund initial mining at Tim’s Find.
Blue Cap will also provide mining, transport, processing, drill and blast and other associated mining services to Alt.
Under the deal, Alt will repay the facility via ore sales, with net profit to be split 34% to Blue Cap and 66% to Alt.
Blue Cap also retains the right to subscribe for 20 million Alt shares at $0.025 each. At Blue Cap’s discretion, share issues can replace cash repayments for mining service agreement costs.
Advancing Mt Ida and Bottle Creek gold project
Less than a week ago, Alt revealed assays from the Quinns mining area at Mt Ida, with more results pending from recent drilling across the project.
Drilling at Quinns uncovered 5m at 3.61 grams per tonne gold from 12m, 6m at 11.06g/t gold from 36m, 26m at 4.63g/t gold from 28m and 10m at 3.47g/t gold from 17m.
Global resources at Mt Ida and Bottle Creek total 10.5 million tonnes at 1.54g/t gold for 519,000 ounces of the precious metal and 3.78Moz of silver.
Mr Anderson noted the company was exercising caution around its immediate operations, intending to maintain its key staff so it remains “well-positioned” to weather the crisis, while gearing up to generate cash flow.