An aircore drilling program conducted by Navarre Minerals (ASX: NML) at its wholly-owned St Arnaud gold project in Victoria has identified a zone of mineralisation with similar structural characteristics to the world-class Fosterville underground mine located 130 kilometres to the east.
The 19-hole program was completed over three priority targets for a total 1,480m at the St Arnaud East prospect, within the east field trend of the historic 0.4 million ounce St Arnaud goldfield.
Three shallow holes drilled at the prospect in the 1970s returned anomalous gold-in-quartz of up to 1.8 grams per tonne gold.
Strong structural similarities
Navarre’s current program was designed to test for early indications of a potential high-grade quartz vein gold system of similar style to Fosterville, operated by major shareholder Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX: KLA).
The company said the program “successfully delivered” multiple gold and silver intersections within a broad arsenic halo in the oxide zone.
The intersections are believed to exhibit strong structural similarities to the high-grade Swan and Eagle zones within Fosterville.
The best gold result came from the South Reef, returning 6m at 2.5g/t gold from 80m, including 1m at 5.4g/t gold within a broader interval of 25m at 0.9g/t gold starting from 63m.
The reef remains open to the east and west and at depth.
The best silver results were recorded from the North Reef, returning 1m at 81.0g/t silver from 81m within a broader interval of 8m at 19.8g/t silver.
Navarre managing director Geoff McDermott said the results have been “highly encouraging”.
“Our drilling has delivered compelling new exploration targets which we intend to further assess in the coming months,” he said.
“It has provided an important insight into the geometry and structure of the gold and silver mineralised zones which exist on surface and bear strong similarity to the high-grade zones at Fosterville.”
Mr McDermott said the company would commence planning a deeper, follow-up drilling program targeting the fresh basement rocks beneath the oxide zone.
Victoria’s largest gold producer
Developed as a high-grade, low-cost underground mine, Fosterville is currently the largest gold producer in Victoria.
The discovery of the project’s Eagle zone in 2015 resulted in a significant improvement in the mine’s overall mineral reserve grade, production profile and unit cost performance.
Fosterville currently comprises 2.15 million ounces of measured and indicated resources at an average grade of 4.8g/t gold, and inferred resources of 1.9Moz at an average grade of 7.1g/t gold.
Last month, Kirkland said the project has sustained “continued transformation into one of the world’s greatest gold mining operations”.
The company reported greater levels of high-grade quartz veins with visible gold than previously estimated, citing this as the main driver of the mine’s “substantial outperformance” during the December quarter.
At mid-afternoon, shares in Navarre were 1.47% higher at $0.069, while shares in Kirkland Lake Gold were down 5.12% to $46.49.