Sampling of high-grade reconnaissance rock chips has defined an additional high-priority target for Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) at its multi-prospect Estelle gold project in Alaska’s prolific Tintina gold belt.
Grab samples from the Cathedral target just south of the project’s Korbel prospect focused on the quartz-arsenopyrite veining present in outcrops within the area.
Values of up to 114 grams per tonne gold were returned from the rock chip samples, as well as five other results grading higher than 10g/t gold: 98.3g/t, 37.1g/t, 24.5g/t, 19.6g/t and 11.05g/t.
When teamed with encouraging drill results from Korbel Blocks A and B plus other known targets within Estelle such as RPM and Shoeshine, the results add weight to the company’s plans to “unlock a district containing multiple large-scale gold deposits,” Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen said.
The results also confirm the regional correlation between gold and arsenopyrite and elevate Cathedral to one of Nova’s highest priority targets for its 2021 drilling campaign.
Nova is now fast-tracking an ore-sorting scoping study to confirm economic potential and define a predictive algorithm.
Mr Gerteisen said if positive results are obtained, a second phase of ore-sorting will be undertaken to confirm economic benefits to a feasibility confidence level using larger sample sizes and multiple zones.
“We see a clear correlation between arsenopyrite-bearing veins and high-grade gold values [and] we are encouraged that we will be able to use ore-sorting techniques to separate the higher-grade material, thereby decreasing the [capital and operating expenditure] of future operations,” he said.
“In time, we expect to define multiple new shallow gold resources that will further support our goal of building a centralised mill and heap leach facility as we continue on our path towards gold production,” Mr Gerteisen added.
Located across 220sq km of the world-class Tintina gold district, which hosts more than 220 million ounces in mostly bulk-tonnage, high-margin deposits, Nova’s Estelle project contains multiple prospects including Korbel (housing the Korbel Ridge, Korbel Valley, Korbel North and Korbel South targets); Stoney (Stoney, Tomahawk, Kid and Trundle); Mount Estelle (Mount Estelle, Shoeshine and Train); and Emerald (RPM and Revelation).
The project’s full inferred resource stands at 181.29 million tonnes at 0.43g/t gold for a contained 2.5Moz already defined at Block B.
Earlier this month, Nova revealed Estelle was growing into a “very large” continuous gold system after drilling at Korbel identified further broad intervals with the mineralisation open at depth and along strike.
A Phase 1 mineral resource update on Block B is due shortly, incorporating additional drill holes which extend outside the current resource area.