Nova Minerals aims to increase size and confidence with restart of drilling at Estelle

Nova Minerals ASX NVA gold tonnages restart drilling Estelle trend Alaska
Nova Minerals’ Korbel Main deposit has 8.1Moz in contained gold resources, with 3Moz classified as indicated and the remainder inferred.

Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has restarted drilling at the Estelle gold trend in Alaska with a view to adding ounces and confidence to existing resources at the Korbel Main and RPM deposits.

The move comes after last month’s announcement of a capital management study, which left the company with $28 million in cash, plus liquid investments to underpin continuous work on a pre-feasibility study for the Korbel and RPM deposits.

Work will commence in the Korbel Valley with the initial goal of infill drilling a saddle area within the proposed and conceptual Korbel Main pit zone to convert additional inferred resources from the 8.1 million ounce total gold resource into the higher indicated category.

A phase one scoping study released in February showed that Korbel Main could be a viable project in its own right but is constrained by a limited amount of indicated resources available from a single ore source.

Current indicated resources sit at 3Moz while the inferred category is at 5.1Moz.

Maiden drill testing

Nova’s program will involve maiden drill testing of the Cathedral target within the greater Korbel Valley, which has reconnaissance rock chip samples of up to 114 grams per tonne gold, and which geophysical data shows could potentially be the source of the regional mineralised system.

It presents an additional near-term opportunity to increase resource tonnages at Korbel Main (Blocks A and B), as well as Korbel Blocks C and D, and the Isabella and You Beauty targets.

Drilling will be carried out alongside various mine and process optimisation, material haulage and environmental studies.

Ramping up exploration

Additional drill crews are being mobilised to site ahead of Nova ramping up its exploration over the coming weeks.

Four diamond rigs and a reverse circulation scout drill will be used as part of planned activities, with the possibility of further rigs being added depending on assay results.

The program is believed to be the most important and transformational for Nova to date, with the aim being to increase the size and confidence of Korbel and RPM for inclusion in a phase two scoping study due out later this year, and the pre-feasibility study in 2023.

Specifically, the company will aim to expand and convert RPM’s 1.5Moz at 2g/t gold inferred resource to the indicated category.

Positive development

Managing director Christopher Gerteisen said the restart of drilling at Estelle was a positive development in the company’s exploration program.

“Not many opportunities come around to drill systems of the size and grade that we have at the Estelle gold trend and with many other prospects yet to be explored as we continue to unlock the wider district,” he said.

“Our exploration efforts to date have produced results at an extremely low cost per discovered ounce and we intend to maintain this run rate with additional drill rigs and an on-site lab allowing economies of scale.”

Nova has steadily grown the global resource inventory at the Estelle gold development, increasing it by 190% since 2020 from 3.3Moz to 9.6Moz (including 3Moz in the indicated category).

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