Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has commenced a reverse circulation drilling program at its Estelle gold-copper project in Alaska, United States.
The company today announced the start of its 2018 exploration field season, with the 8000m drilling campaign due to begin “immediately” at the project’s Oxide prospect.
The program, expected to take six to eight weeks, has been designed to test along strike north and south of an historic discovery hole, which cut 387m grading at 0.4 grams per tonne of gold.
Drilling is also planned to convert Nova’s exploration target of 1.1-2.3 million ounces of gold into a maiden JORC-compliant resource at the Oxide prospect, with a view to expand this zone. This maiden resource estimate is anticipated at the end of 2018.
According to the company, further drilling programs with more than 15 targets of interest have also been planned.
The 114sq km Estelle project lies next to the Gold Mining (TSE: GOLD) operated Whistler copper project and on the same assemblage of rocks that host Northern Dynasty Minerals’ (NYSE: NAK) giant Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum-silver deposit.
Despite Alaska’s harsh weather conditions, the Estelle project can be accessed all year round for drilling programs and project development activities via an established ice road built by previous operators.
Nova managing director Avi Kimelman said the company has a “five-year head start” on the Estelle project, thanks to previous work having established great exploration targets, and compared the project’s size and potential scale to the Pebble discovery.
“We look forward to seeing what the initial holes within the strong geophysical anomaly uncovers,” he said.
Snow Lake spin-off
Nova is also earning up to 80% in the Thompson Brothers lithium project and holds a 100% interest in the adjoining Crowduck project in Canada via its subsidiary Snow Lake Resources.
Last month, the company announced its intentions to spin-off Snow Lake in a C$24 million initial public offering by seeking a listing on the TSXV.
Nova said funds raised from the IPO would be used to further advance the Thompson Brothers project, where the company recently announced a maiden inferred resource of 6.3 million tonnes grading 1.38% lithium for 86,940t of the contained metal.
Once Snow Lake has listed, Nova anticipates its interest in the company will be reduced to 77%.