Pilbara miner Millennium Minerals (ASX: MOY) has unveiled “outstanding” gold drilling results that point to Golden Gate becoming the next underground mine at its flagship Nullagine gold project in Western Australia.
The gold producer today announced the recovery of thicker, high-grade gold intercepts from recent drilling at the ABC Reef, Condor and D Reef deposits, which add further weight to the emerging mining potential at Golden Gate.
Drilling highlights comprised a 16m intersection at D Reef grading 7.06 grams per tonne gold from 87m, including 6m at 16.6g/t gold from 94m; 10m at 5.06g/t gold from 94m, including 1m at 16.9g/t gold from 97m at ABC Reef; and 5m at 5.52g/t gold from a shallower 38m depth at Condor.
This latest campaign followed drilling at the Condor Northwest and Condor deposits late last year, which uncovered results of up to 13m at 7.13g/t gold, including 2m at 26.2g/t gold and 2m at 13.64g/t gold.
The drilling programs were designed to increase both the high-grade open pit and underground resources at Golden Gate, with the area set to become the second underground mine at Nullagine after Bartons, which was brought online last year.
Millennium said an updated mineral resource and ore reserve statement is due next month, which will include these new drilling results from Golden Gate.
In addition, the new Golden Gate mineral resource will be used to conduct a preliminary economic assessment of this potential second underground mine, which could possibly deliver high-grade feed to boost mine life at the 100,000-ounce-per-annum production rate.
Sulphide expansion project
Golden Gate is also expected to become a key ore contributor for Millennium’s impending sulphide plant expansion project, which is aimed at expanding the existing 2 million tonne-per-annum carbon-in-leach processing plant at Nullagine to facilitate the economic treatment of sulphide ore.
The company said it was targeting a decision to mine for the Golden Gate underground development in the 2019 first quarter, to coincide with the scheduled commissioning of the expanded sulphide plant in late first quarter/early second quarter of 2019.
Millennium chief executive officer Peter Cash said the thicker, high-grade intercepts encountered in deeper drilling at ABC Reef, Condor and D Reef “clearly support the potential for underground mining”, which the company is now actively evaluating.
“The outstanding rates being generated by our drilling at Golden Gate are consistent with our overarching exploration and mining strategy at Nullagine – which is to target larger, higher grade ore sources at Nullagine capable of delivering high-grade material to support the sulphide expansion project from both open pit and underground ore sources,” he said.
“The recent Golden Gate results show the huge exploration potential that can be unlocked across the Nullagine district as a result of deeper drilling being undertaken with the knowledge that there is a viable processing solution for all of the ore types that we potentially discover,” Mr Cash added.
Millennium shares rose 10.53% to $0.21 on the news by early afternoon trade.