Gold producer Millennium Minerals (ASX: MOY) has confirmed mining activities at the Redbeard deposit will commence this month following the release of an updated probable ore reserve estimate of 153,000 tonnes grading 3.5 grams per tonne of gold for 17,200 ounces of contained gold.
The 3.5g/t head grade makes Redbeard the highest-grade gold deposit defined to date within Millennium’s Nullagine project, which commenced mining in 2012 and is situated approximately 185 kilometres north of Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Redbeard will become the sixth mining centre within Nullagine, and forms what Millennium believes to be an “emerging cluster” of high-grade exploration targets within its Twenty Mile Sandy mining centre.
The Redbeard deposit has been a star performer for Millennium since its discovery, delivering a resource of 245,700t grading 2.6g/t Au for 20,600oz just two months after drilling began in November 2017.
Last month, the company updated those figures to 278,500t at 2.8g/t for 25,200oz – double the average grade of Millennium’s global resource base at Nullagine.
Once open pit mining commences later this month, Redbeard is expected to make a strong contribution to Nullagine’s current annual production rate of around 80,000ozpa, with the company ramping up to achieve a production run rate of 100,000ozpa of gold for Nullagine by the end of the year.
A deep drilling program will be conducted at the same time to assess Redbeard’s potential as a future underground operation.
Exploration continues at Golden Gate
Millennium has also announced positive exploration results at the historic Golden Gate mining centre, adjacent to the Redbeard deposit.
Golden Gate was last mined in 2014, producing 55,592oz at an average grade of 2.58g/t gold.
The latest round of drilling at the Goshawk, H Reef, Sparrow and Magpie has highlighted the potential of the area to be re-established as a high-grade oxide mining centre.
The company reported best results at Goshawk were 3m at 7.51g/t gold from 53m, including 2m at 10.13g/t gold; and 4m at 4.34g/t gold from 36m, including 1m at 10.75g/t gold.
H Reef best results were 2m at 3.41g/t gold from 5m, and 8m at 1.91g/t gold from 36m.
At Sparrow, better intercepts included 6m at 1.59g/t gold from 25m, and 4m at 1.57g/t gold from 43m. Over at Magpie, the company reported 3m at 3.49g/t gold from 6m, including 1m at 6.78g/t gold.
Millennium chief executive officer Peter Cash said the positive results at Redbeard and Golden Gate demonstrate the strong potential of the Nullagine district.
“These are very pleasing results that confirm there is still plenty of gold yet to be discovered at Nullagine,” he said.
“This region could become an important new high-grade production hub for our company.”
At early afternoon trade, Millennium Minerals’ share price was up 2.63% to $0.195.