Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has begun environmental studies and permit planning for the Korbel Main 3.3 million ounce gold deposit within its flagship Estelle project in Alaska, while beefing up its board with the appointment of “highly experienced international mining executive” Colin Belshaw.
The company has engaged Jade North to advance the environmental work program and provide permitting guidance.
Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen said the appointment of Jade North was part of the company’s “proactive strategy” to advance project development work and permitting requirements “well ahead of schedule”.
“The team at Jade North has invaluable experience working successfully within the framework of a large mine permitting team – the government mechanism set up by the state of Alaska to streamline the permitting process for projects of the scale and scope we are aiming for Korbel.”
“It is critical we start our environmental studies now with baseline data collection and map out a clear path to follow to obtain the necessary approvals in a timely manner.”
Mr Gerteisen added kicking off the permitting and environmental processes was part of the company’s strategy to fast-track Korbel Main to production.
These environmental studies will run in parallel with Nova’s technical studies and ongoing drilling at Estelle.
Another resource update has been scheduled for early next year, which along with metallurgical test work, will underpin the preliminary economic assessment.
The current resource for Korbel Main is 290 million tonnes at 0.35 grams per tonne gold for 3.275Moz.
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To make the mining permitting process more co-ordinated and streamlined, the Alaskan Government has implemented the Large Mine Permitting Team to assist developers of larger proposed mines and projects.
There are a large number of recently approved mines and permits for larger operations in the state with some of these including: Northern Star Resources’ (ASX: NST) Pogo expansion, Teck Resources’ Red Dog’s new mining permit, and Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox Gilmore heap leach operation.
Mr Gerteisen noted the wider Estelle project was similar to Fort Knox and Pogo mines in terms of size and geochemistry.
“The Estelle gold project is ideally located on state land only – a relatively favourable position in terms of land tenure and permitting,” he added.
Beefs up board with Colin Belshaw appointment
Today’s environmental and permitting news follows Nova adding Colin Belshaw to its board as a non-executive director.
As a “highly experienced international mining professional”, it is expected Mr Belshaw will provide “valuable advice” on development and mining operations for Estelle as well as extending the resource.
Mr Belshaw’s career in mining spans four decades in base metals and gold across three continents.
He previously worked with Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s LSE-listed Highland Gold Mining.
Mr Abramovich sold his 40% interest in the gold mining company earlier this year for US$1.4 billion.
Mr Gerteisen claims Mr Belshaw is “ideally suited” to assist Nova in transforming the company from explorer to gold producer.