High Grade Metals (ASX: HGM) has officially started drilling at its wholly-owned Schellgaden gold project in Austria, with the first phase drilling campaign estimated to take up to six weeks to complete.
Initially one rig will be operating at Schellgaden which encompasses around 126 square kilometres in exploration tenements.
A further two rigs will be transported from High Grade’s Leogang copper-cobalt project where drilling began at the start of the month.
Speaking with Small Caps, High Grade managing director and chief executive officer Torey Marshall said the company was “fully funded” for this first phase of drilling at Schellgaden.
The initial drilling program will focus on the historic Stublbau underground mine where gold has been extracted on and off for hundreds of years.
Diamond drilling will evaluate the geological connections between Stublbau and the Katschberg transport tunnel.
However, Mr Marshall noted the company would prioritise targets based on several factors including geology, logistics and time.
Additionally, High Grade will look at expanding the planned program based on ongoing drill results.
According to High Grade, the Stublbau mine at Schellgaden dates back to between the 12th and 13th centuries, with gold mining within the broader Schellgaden district believed to have occurred in pre-Roman times.
In May this year, High Grade released an exploration target for Schellgaden that was based on mine sampling and surveying, as well as historic drill data and detailed geological modelling.
The exploration target offers up several scenarios, with the base case indicating the potential for a 4.85 million tonne resource grading 6 grams per tonne gold for 1.032 million ounces.
On the upper estimate range, an exploration target has been calculated of 9.76Mt grading 15g/t gold for 4.7Moz.
Previous exploration activities in the mid-1990s involved collecting 133 channel samples. The samples yielded average gold grades between 7.5g/t and 10g/t in the Stublbau mine.
The sampling also returned a peak assay of 1oz per tonne gold from the Knappenstube East mine.