Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) has revealed “impressive” early results from ongoing infill and extensional drilling focused on the higher-grade southeast zone of its Korbel Main deposit in Alaska.
The drilling program is aimed at substantially increasing Korbel Main’s 4.7-million-ounce resource announced in April and upgrading the resource confidence to advance project feasibility studies.
Best results include a 67m intersection grading 1 gram per tonne of gold; 44m at 1.5g/t; 13m at 3.9g/t; 6m at 8g/t; and 3m at 12.3g/t gold.
In addition, Nova said wide zones of mineralised intrusive containing internal higher grade “blow out” zones continue to be intersected during the ongoing drilling, which could mean a significant upgrade to the resource.
Today’s news comes a week after the North America-focused explorer announced a resource upgrade for its Thompsons Brothers lithium project in Canada, which is managed by its majority-owned subsidiary Snow Lake Resources.
Encouraging gold samples
Drilling is continuing with almost 10,000m completed to date and further results anticipated soon.
Nova said geologically, some of the samples look “very promising”, showing encouraging gold grade indicators in terms of mineralogy and high vein densities.
The company is currently establishing an on-site sample prep-lab facility which is expected to result in reduced cost per assay and a faster turnaround.
Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen said the significance of the grades obtained this early in the infill program further confirms a higher-grade feeder zone within the southeast Block B area of the Korbel Main deposit.
“Our expectation is that we will start to consistently intersect internal high-grade blow-out zones, and that is exactly what these results show. This could mean a significant upgrade to the resource, with the next update to be released later this year.”
He said the results will also have a major impact on the project’s pit optimisations moving forward.
“We see our upcoming interim scoping study as a ‘snap-shot in time’, a starting point, one which we are only set to grow from.”
RPM maiden resource estimate
Korbel Main is located within Nova’s flagship Estelle gold project in Alaska’s prolific Tintina Gold Belt.
Another prospect expected to add significant ounces to the Estelle project resource inventory is RPM, where Mr Gerteisen said a third diamond drill rig is expected to be mobilised “within days”.
A maiden resource estimate for this drilling program is planned for later in the year.
Thompson Brothers lithium resource upgrade
Meanwhile at the Thompson Brothers lithium project in Manitoba, Canada, Nova’s subsidiary Snow Lake has announced a new indicated resource estimate of 9.08Mt at 1% lithium oxide and an inferred resource of 1.97Mt at 0.98% lithium oxide (using a 0.3% cut-off grade for both).
Importantly, the resource represents less than 5% of the Thompson Brothers project area and remains open at depth and along strike in both northeast and southwest directions.
“To date the exploration budget has been relatively modest and with the current resource limited to 5% of our property footprint, Snow Lake has the potential of being leveraged into a world-class lithium producer,” Snow Lake chief executive officer Phil Gross said.
“As we enter the tipping point of vehicle electrification, we will be in a unique position to play an important role and fully integrate into the electric vehicle industry supply chain.”
Snow Lake has planned a staged approach for the project’s development including adding additional tonnage through further step-out drilling, a first round of drilling at the SG Dykes planned in the fourth quarter, then fast tracking through the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and into feasibility studies.