Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has secured another vote of confidence in its flagship Estelle gold project after investors backed a $21 million share placement to accelerate the project’s exploration and development.
With Evolution Capital Advisors acting as the lead manager, sophisticated and institutional investors put cash behind the 123.5 million placement which offered Nova’s shares at $0.17 – representing a 10% discount to the company’s 10-day volume weighted average price.
Commenting on the raising, Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen said it would allow the company to maintain its momentum in exploring and developing the project – claiming he believed Estelle was a “district scale asset with immense scope for further inventory growth”.
About $18.3 million of the placement proceeds have been allocated to ongoing resource growth and discovery drilling. Proceeds will also fund metallurgical, scoping and prefeasibility studies as well as the initiation of an environmental assessment program.
Mr Gerteisen noted mineralisation at Estelle’s Korbel Main deposit spanned more than 2km north-south and 600m east-west.
Additionally, mineralisation extends deeper than 500m.
The Korbel Main current resource of 3.3 million ounces of contained gold is based on only a small portion of the strike.
With the placement funds, Nova will continue drilling Korbel Main throughout 2021 and test targets – Block B South-eastern extension, Blocks C and D, Cathedral, You Beauty, Isabella and Sweet Jenny.
The company will also conduct regional exploration, while advancing economic and environmental work.
Mr Gerteisen said the company expects to add “substantial tonnages” to the Korbel Main deposit from the drilling program.
He added the exploration costs will be further reduced by establishing a core preparation lab at the project site.
Building on earlier successes
While Nova’s acceleration plans are now funded from the latest placement, the company is awaiting assays from about 35 holes – equating to about 15,000m of drilling.
Mr Gerteisen said these assays will be based on some of the best rocks he has seen in the southeast extension.
Previous highlight drill results from Korbel Main have comprised 429m at 0.6g/t gold, including 101m at 1.3g/t, 82m at 1.5g/t and 3m at 8.2g/t; and 303m at 0.4 grams per tonne gold, including 226m at 0.5g/t, 52m at 0.8g/t, and 6m at 2.1g/t.
All up, Estelle covers 220sq km of mining claims in Alaska’s Tintina province.
Nova is planning a bulk mining, heap leach operation at Estelle and hopes to make a decision to mine in either late 2023 or early 2024.