Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has unveiled an updated resource of 4.7 million ounces of contained gold for the Korbel Main deposit within its flagship Estelle gold project.
The company describes the updated resource for Korbel Main as a “snapshot in time” with mineralisation starting from surface and remaining “wide open” along strike and at depth.
All up, the inferred resource now stands at 518 million tonnes at 0.3 grams per tonne gold for 4.7Moz based on a 0.15g/t gold cut-off grade.
This follows an interim resource that was released in October last year of 3.3Moz of contained gold.
According to Nova, today’s updated resource is underpinned by 30,000m of new drilling including 48 diamond core holes completed in 2020, plus previous drilling.
However, the company pointed out the updated resource does not include Korbel Block C, Korbel Block D, You Beauty, Isabella, Sweet Jenny and other outlier priority targets at the RPM prospect.
Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen noted the Korbel Main resource has grown substantially since 2019.
“Our 2020 drilling proved successful, seeing an increase of over 2Moz from our 2019 maiden resource – bringing Korbel Main to 4.7Moz, which remains wide open in both directions along strike to the west and at depth.”
“We have been extremely conservative in our approach with this resource in many ways as we move towards the scoping study, including continuing to classify Korbel Main as an inferred resource.”
Mr Gerteisen added the Korbel deposit has turned out to be “so expansive” it will take further infill drilling to gather the data density required to upgrade the resource to indicated status.
Ore sorting continues to produce positive results
As part of the proposed flowsheet for Korbel Main, Nova’s ore sorting test work has generated “exceptional” results.
The test work shows “great potential for reduced” processing and increased mine production at Korbel Main.
Recent testing was carried out on a 588kg coarse rock sample and sorting upgraded the sample more than 10 times.
“The resource is amendable to pre-concentration using XRT ore sorting, whereby our test work to date has clearly shown a substantial increase in grade can be achieved,” Mr Gerteisen explained.
“This process involves separating the resource into a very high-grade product to be directed to the milling process circuit, and lower-grade to stockpile.”
“With ore sorting now a definite component of the flowsheet, serious value could be created through a mill process route,” he added.
Economic studies ‘well underway’ as drilling continues
The technical studies and exploration both feed into a scoping study for Korbel Main which is “well underway”.
While Korbel Main remains Nova’s focus at Estelle, the company is also advancing several other prospects including Cathedral and RPM.
As part of this, Nova plans to drill RPM this quarter with a maiden resource for this target expected this year.