Rapidly advancing gold explorer Alt Resources (ASX: ARS) is focusing its attention on bringing the historic Bottle Creek gold mine back into production within two years.
The mine operated for 18 months producing 93,000 ounces of gold before it was closed in 1989. The gold was extracted from two open pits that went to 50m depths with gold grades at the VB pit averaging 3.26 grams per tonne and 2.65g/t at Boags.
Previous operator Riot Tinto (ASX: RIO) subsidiary Norgold Ltd processed the ore through a carbon-in-leach and carbon-in-pulp plant that was moved during rehabilitation in the 1990s.
As part of its strategy to bring the project back into production, Alt will develop its own 62-tonne per hour carbon-in-leach treatment plant at the project.
Initially, Alt anticipates a mine life of eight years by processing 500,000tpa.
In under 12 months, Alt has upgraded the Bottle Creek resource three times, with the latest update revealing a resource of 5.6Mt at 1.72g/t gold for 309,000 ounces.
As a result, Alt’s wider Mt Ida project now hosts resources of 6.8Mt at 1.85g/t gold for 406,000oz gold and 3.8Moz of silver.
Adding to the picture is 78% of the resource is categorised as measured or indicated categories – de-risking the project further.
Also, resources have only been firmed up across 3.8km of an identified 11km of strike.
In order to underpin this rapid resource growth, Alt has leveraged a 68,000m historical drilling database.
Alt plans to continue drilling throughout 2019 to test extensions and follow up on new targets.
Resource drilling will also begin at the Quinns target in May, with exploration drilling planned at Sheppards Bush the same month.
Metallurgy and mining
Metallurgical test work has recovered 93.1% gold and 65% silver using conventional cyanide leach processing on samples from Emu and Southwark targets.
Stage one pit optimisation work has been carried out on Emu and Southwark and indicates 74,000oz gold and 215,000oz silver could be extracted.
Alt estimates the operation would attract cash costs of $970 per ounce, potentially generating healthy margins if the gold price stays above its current value of $1,840/oz.
As part of its feasibility study to bring the targets online, Alt plans to release a maiden ore reserve in the June quarter.
Under its mine plan, Alt will also look to extract the higher grade ore in the first 12 months of operation.
Bottle Creek is accessible by sealed and all weather gravel roads. The project also has access to power, water, communications and airstrip, tailings dams, and an exploration camp with modern amenities.
Alt can acquire up to 100% of Bottle Creek as well as 80% to 100% of the Mt Ida tenements.
Nearby deposits in the area include Eastern Goldfields’ (ASX: EGS) Mt Ida Timoni which has a resource of 320,000t at 13.8g/t gold for 141,000oz and Intermin Resources’ (ASX: IRC) Menzies project which hosts 2.42Mt at 2.2g/t gold for 171,310oz.