Emerging Alaska gold developer Nova Minerals (ASX: NVA) reports that test work in Sydney will enable it to introduce a 10 times improvement in ore sorting from its planned mining operation in the northernmost US state.
This will reduce processing on-site and increase production at the Korbel Main deposit, which is one of 15 identified deposits in Nova’s Estelle project in Alaska, located approximately 177km northwest of Anchorage, Alaska’s major city.
Nova said it is also investigating further value-adding by processing reject material.
The ore sorting results from rock sent to TOMRA in Sydney, a company that specialises in dry beneficiation of ores and minerals, showing a 10-times upgrade from a 588kg rock sample using x-ray transmission technology.
Will reduce lower grade rock being processed
The technology will allow Nova to reduce unit mining costs and ore loss experienced in the selective mining process.
It will also improve rejection of waste material, leading to lower processing capital and operating costs, the company said.
On top of that, it will have an environmental benefit in reduced material being stored as tailings and permit a higher grade of mill feed.
Nova chief executive officer Christopher Gerteisen said this latest test work provides a “unique” opportunity for the company to ensure optimal mine design.
‘Significant’ increases in mine productivity
“Significant increases in mine productivity could be achieved through the rejection of a considerable proportion of lower grade rock before processing,” Mr Gerteisen added.
“This provides Nova with an opportunity to operate at a lower cut-off grade, and potentially increase the per-annum profile of the project.”
Nova’s announcement explains that the Korbel Main deposit has the majority of its gold contained in separate high-grade sheeted vein rocks which are easily sorted with the x-ray technology.
In this part of Alaska, the gold is typically in bulk tonnage, low in grade but with high margins.
Estelle is located near the eastern end of the Tintina gold belt that stretches westward from Alaska over the Canadian border and through most of the Yukon.
More than 200 million ounces of hard rock gold resources have been documented within the belt over the past decade. It contains “untold millions of ounces” of historic placer gold, Nova said in one presentation.