Exploration and development company Classic Minerals (ASX: CLZ) has received native title endorsement for its wholly-owned Kat Gap gold project, 170km south of Southern Cross in Western Australia.
Last year, the company executed a Noongar alternative heritage agreement over the proposed mining area with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, on behalf of the local Ballardong agreement group.
Long-term Classic employee Jacob Doutch managed the process in association with the state government and the Ballardong group.
Classic chairman John Lester said native title approval has been considered a key production milestone which builds on the rapid development of Kat Gap.
“We are excited to enter into this agreement with the Ballardong [group] who we respect and have a strong relationship with,” he said.
“We believe it will lay the strongest foundation for us to progress Kat Gap through development while respecting the heritage and culture of the area.”
Located 50km from Classic’s flagship Forrestania discovery, the Kat Gap gold project has an initial JORC inferred resource of 92,869 ounces at 2.96 grams per tonne gold with a gravity and conventional cyanide leach process able to prove up to 96% recovery from fresh and oxide samples.
Classic has previously said it is shaping up to become a “prolific, high-grade gold development with considerable remaining upside potential”.
The project contains a shallow, unmined deposit discovered in the 1990s and the subject of resource estimations and scoping studies by Sons of Gwalia in 2003.
The open-ended find lies within a 5km-long geochemical gold anomaly which has seen very little historical drill testing.
Earlier this month, Classic made two significant achievements in the development of Kat Gap.
On 4 May, the company secured a mining lease for the project from the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
The lease was considered a “major defining moment” and will allow Classic to advance gold production plans through to 2042.
On 12 May, the company announced it had commissioned its wholly-owned Gekko processing plant at a testing site in the Perth suburb of Gnangara.
The plant has a 30 tonnes per hour capacity and is scalable to a Gekko Python-sized plant which can process up to 250tph.
Mr Lester said Classic remains on track to achieve first gold pour from the plant and mine at full capacity by mid-year.