Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, Kingston Resources (ASX: KSN) has resumed drilling operations at its flagship 3.2-million-ounce Misima gold project in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Two diamond rigs are on the island and will carry out 8,000m of diamond drilling.
The program will include infill and extensional drilling at the southeast end of the proposed Umuna pit as well as at the company’s 2019 Abi discovery.
Kingston also reports its prefeasibility study is now in its final stages and on track be to be completed in the current December quarter.
Work at the 132-year-old mine will begin at the Kulumalia area at the south-eastern end of the modelled Umuna pit which “is expected to form the backbone of the company’s proposed future mining operation”.
The drilling will be targeting resource conversion within the current pit shell as well as testing high-grade near-surface mineralisation for potential early inclusion in the schedules for when mining begins.
Kingston, with Misima and its Livingstone gold project in Western Australia, is positioning itself to be “the next low-cost, large-scale gold producer in the Asia-Pacific”.
Misima in located on the island of the same name that lies in the Solomon Sea, east of the PNG mainland and almost directly south from Woodlark Island where Geopacific Resources (ASX: GPR) is developing a 1.6Moz gold project.
The 100%-owned Misima project holds a resource of 3.2Moz of gold and 18.2Moz of silver.
It is regarded as one of the great gold mines of the Asia Pacific region; gold was discovered there in 1888 and last mining took place in 2004 with the closure brought about by the then-low gold price.
Progress on other front while drilling suspended
Historical drilling at Kulumalia returned assays including 42m at 4.11 grams per tonne gold, 50m at 1.42g/t, and 36m at 1.9g/t; all three holes included higher grade sections.
Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett said he is delighted the drill rigs are again turning at Kulumalia, which he describes as a “compelling target”.
Although not able to drill due to COVID-19, Kingston has been pressing ahead on other fronts.
“We delivered an updated mineral resource estimate in May, we are now finalising the Misima prefeasibility study, and we have also been able to construct a purpose-built sample preparation laboratory on site,” Mr Corbett said.
This on-site lab is expected to reduce costs and improve assay turnaround times.
Abi tested for early-stage feed for mill
Meanwhile, the Abi discovery — announced in September 2019 — will also be receiving attention.
The discovery hole returned 23.6m at 2.91g/t gold from 7.4m down hole, with two high-grade sections including 4.3m at 11.58g/t gold from 19.1m.
The next drilling will focus on testing the vertical and horizontal continuity of the high-grade mineralisation.
Abi is regarded by Kingston as a high priority as it lies close to the Ewatinona resource, which will provide the bulk of the early stage feed for the processing plant.