With gold mining already underway MetalsTech (ASX: MTC) has started its much anticipated drilling program at the underground Adrej Adit within the company’s flagship Sturec mine in Slovakia.
The underground diamond drilling program will comprise nine-holes for 3,000m and is targeting previous thick high-grade intersections.
Highlight results from previous drilling unearthed 89m at 6.9 grams per tonne gold and 23.6g/t silver from 114m.
This was identified within an even broader intersection of drill hole STOR 3.11 of 137.3m at 4.6g/t gold and 16.5g/t silver from 67.7m.
“We are ready. We are excited and the rig is finally turning,” MetalsTech chairman Russell Moran said.
“SOR 3.11 is a significant intersection and we look forward to finding out how far this high-grade zone can go.”
Mr Moran said the zone is open at depth and “unspoilt” by previous mining.
“We are hopeful for the potential of both resource expansion and grade elevation.”
Results from the program will underpin the underground mining scoping study.
The study is evaluating a first stage operation that will include a simple and low capital expenditure gravity separation and concentrate operation.
Sturec has an existing historic resource of 1.01 million ounces of contained gold with an average grade of 2.05g/t.
The project has been mined over hundreds of years with records revealing this exceeded 1.5Moz gold and 6.7Moz silver.
After executing an option to acquire Sturec late last year, MetalsTech has firmed up a JORC-compliant resource of 21Mt at 1.5g/t gold and 11.6g/t silver for 1.026Moz gold and 7.94Moz silver. This estimate is within an optimised open pit shell.
The underground resource is 388,000t at 3.45g/t gold and 21.6g/t silver for 43,000oz gold and 270,000oz silver.
MetalsTech is already mining at Andrej, with the ore to be used to be complete metallurgical testwork using thiosulphate-based gold extraction technology.
Additionally, MetalsTech hopes to reach an interim processing solution with a nearby producer, and is looking at toll treatment options to begin generating cash flow.
Meanwhile, Mr Moran said the company was confident in its strategy to use existing infrastructure and permits to fast-track its high-grade underground mine to capitalise on the booming gold sector and record gold prices.