Perth-based explorer Venus Metals Corporation (ASX: VMC) and joint venture partner Rox Resources (ASX: RXL) have announced a 156% increase in the mineral resource estimate at the Youanmi Deeps prospect within the Younami gold project in Western Australia.
The new estimate (comprising indicated and inferred categories) sits at 9.9 million tonnes grading 6.89 grams per tonne gold for 2.19 million ounces of contained gold and compares to the previous Deeps resource released in June of 3.37Mt at 7.89g/t for 856,300oz.
It lifts the total resource for the Youanmi project to 24.6Mt at 3.78g/t for 2.99Moz.
While the new cut-off grade has been reduced from 4g/t to 3g/t gold based on recent mine planning assumptions, Venus said the comparison still showed a 128% increase in metal.
All-in exploration costs for Youanmi indicate a $7 per ounce discovery cost, which the company said was “an exceptional result”.
The high-grade material increase follows seven months of intensive infill and extensional diamond drilling at Youanmi Deeps for around 35,000m.
Drilling defined new areas such as the Link and Junction prospects, as well as mineralisation-parallel hanging-wall lodes.
The partners also reported an average of 2,900oz per vertical metre between surface and 750m below surface, which could pave the way for robust conceptual economics.
These will be based on the Albion processing method (developed by Australian minerals processing specialist Glencore Technology) which has demonstrated metallurgical recoveries of up to 95%.
Rox managing director Alex Passmore said the Youanmi Deeps estimate – which reflects a tripling of the June figures – is expected to increase further when drilling results from the last few months of 2021 are incorporated.
“We took the decision to provide an interim updated resource estimate given the very long assay turnaround times being experienced of up to 14 weeks in some cases,” he said.
“The new estimate follows the execution of a targeted infill, extensional and discovery drilling strategy [and] our geology team is to be commended for discovering new gold-bearing structures [which have] shown demonstrable returns.”
Drilling and exploration work in the OYG joint venture area of the project (where Venus holds 30% equity) has yielded substantial increases in known and defined tonnages and ounces since the acquisition and commencement of drilling in mid-2019.