Stawell-based explorer Navarre Minerals (ASX: NML) has launched a 5,000m reconnaissance aircore drilling program at the historic Victorian goldfield of St Arnaud, west of Bendigo.
The work will test depth and strike additions at the goldfield, last worked in 1916.
This is in addition to the 2,000m program of diamond core drilling testing for high-grade mineralisation beneath the historic New Bendigo mine, which is located within the St Arnaud ground.
Navarre now has three of its operating seven drill rigs working at St Arnaud.
The new 5,000m program is part of a larger 20,000m campaign to test several of Navarre’s Victorian projects.
This latest St Arnaud work will focus on testing beneath shallow gold workings within the recently granted exploration licence, EL 6819.
Also following 5km gold-silver target
The permit covers most of the old St Arnaud goldfield, which produced 400,000 ounces between 1855 and 1916 at an average gold grade of 15 grams per tonne.
These workings include gold-bearing Bristol (New Bendigo), New Chum and Nelson lines of reef.
Navarre said it also plans to drill on the adjacent exploration licence EL 6556, where it has previously identified gold and silver mineralisation extending for at least 5km north of the St Arnaud goldfield and lying under shallow Murray Basin cover.
Navarre managing director Ian Holland said the company is excited to have three rigs working at St Arnaud.
“St Arnaud is the second largest hard-rock goldfield in Victoria’s Stawell geological zone which, until now, has missed out on Victoria’s gold resurgence,” he added.
Navarre said the 2018 reconnaissance drilling program at St Arnaud showed the potential for economic mineralisation there to extend over 5km beyond the original workings.
The best gold result was 4m at 6.6g/t, with mineralisation beginning at 48m down hole, while the best silver assay returned 1m at 67.4g/t silver.
That mineralisation remains open along strike.
St Arnaud once hosted 47 mines
Gold was first discovered at St Arnaud in 1855, four years after the first Victorian gold rush, and by 1860, 47 hard-rock mines were in production.
Several lines of reef were mined, with the Nelson line producing the most gold and being worked over a 5km strike length, and included the goldfield’s deepest mine, the Lord Nelson.
Moreover, the Lord Nelson was the only mine to produce gold from sulphide ores below a depth of 120m.
The mine recovered 323,000oz, being 80% of all the metal produced at St Arnaud.
Navarre noted most of the other historic mines closed on reaching the water table because economic technology to treat sulphide ores did not exist, plus it would have involved the cost of pumping water out of the mines.