Barton Gold ramps up operations with new drilling and resource upgrades at Tunkillia and Tarcoola

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Barton Gold ASX BGD quarterly activities Tarcoola Tunkillia

Barton Gold (ASX: BGD) (OTCQB: BGDFF) has kicked off the new calendar year with additional resources growth and open pit drilling at the historic Tunkillia and Tarcoola gold operations in South Australia, as well as the start of gold concentrate sales from a cleanout of the Central Gawler mill.

In March, the company reported a resource upgrade for Tunkillia to a total 1.5 million ounces of gold, following upgrades in 2023 to 1.15Moz and 1.38Moz.

The latest upgrade focused on converting the Area 51 target to a mineral resource estimate, adding a further 115,000oz gold at an ‘all in’ cost of $18/oz.

A total of 820,000oz is now in the indicated category, representing approximately 55% of the resource.

Drilling results from the Area 191 target have also confirmed visible high-grade gold, including an intersection of 3.83m at 68 grams per tonne from 104.1m depth.

This month, Barton commenced bulk open pit scoping studies for Tunkillia that will include mine design, production scheduling, process plant, tailings storage, equipment, personnel and supporting infrastructure.

The company plans to follow the study with a technical data review on the pathway to a pre-feasibility study for the project.

Tarcoola drilling

Barton completed a new seismic survey over the Tarcoola goldfield in August to develop a high-resolution model of near-surface structures and identify potential targets for drill testing during this year.

Drilling of priority targets identified from the new structural model is expected to commence shortly.

The work follows a 1,688m campaign at the historic Perseverance open pit mine, where Barton is aiming to convert shallow and easily-accessible mineralisation to a resource estimate for Stage 1 operations.

The mine is located on a fully-permitted lease and had its ore processed through the fully-licensed Central Gawler mill during 2017 and 2018.

Central Gawler sales

Barton opened a tender in January for the sale of materials from a cleanout of the Central Gawler mill and has since received multiple firm bids for purchasing and processing.

Contracts are expected to be secured in the near future, with the potential for a final cash benefit of around $4 million on the basis of current gold prices.

Final recoveries from the sale of materials are expected to be subject to standard conditions including weigh-ins, moisture determination and assay valuation.

Preservation program

The Central Gawler cleanout and preservation program was completed in December 2022 to assist scope and cost estimates for recommissioning of the mill.

The program saw the mill’s gravity circuit disassembled, stripped and cleaned to recover more than 10 tonnes of gold-bearing materials.

Total saleable gold concentrates of 11 dry tonnes grading 3,880g/t gold was produced for a metal value of 1,400oz contained gold, worth approximately $4.9m assuming a gold price of $3,500/oz.

Stockpile evaluation

Barton is evaluating other historical stockpiles of mined materials located close to Central Gawler and Perseverance for processing and recovery opportunities.

The company said these could provide additional opportunities to generate non-dilutive working capital to fund regional technical programs or to supplement potential Stage 1 mill feed.

It is also reviewing the historical tailings storage facility (TSF) adjacent to Central Gawler for potential selective reprocessing opportunities to recover gold or other minerals of economic value.

Selective reprocessing has the potential to generate additional non-dilutive working capital, reduce the company’s rehabilitation liability and increase available TSF capacity.

Solid financials

At the end of March, Barton had $3.67m in cash on hand plus $4.5m in interest-bearing deposits.

Subsequent to quarter-end, it boosted its current cash balance to $8.18m with the completion of a $3m institutional placement and a $2.25m share purchase plan.

During the quarter, $1.3m was spent on large-scale exploration programs and various project initiatives, while $54,000 was paid to related parties including directors and their associates.