Vital Metals hits massive 157g/t gold in Niger, slashes capital expenditure at Watershed

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By Lorna Nicholas - 
Vital Metals ASX VML Niger Bouli gold project Bella Tondi

Artisanal workings at the Bella Tondi gold prospect.


Vital Metals (ASX: VML) has pulled out 157 grams per tonne gold from ongoing exploration at its Bouli gold project in Niger, while an independent review has reduced anticipated capital expenditure for the company’s advanced Watershed tungsten project in Queensland.

Exploration at the West African project intersected 4m grading 157g/t gold at the Bella Tondi prospect, which is 200m along strike from an earlier high-grade intersection of 2m grading 36.5g/t.

Vital Metals managing director Mark Strizek said the high-grade result was from a zone where gold had been visible in the reverse circulation cuttings.

“These latest results from Bella Tondi indicate why so many artisanal miners were focussed on chasing the gold mineralisation along the Bella Tondi structure,” Mr Strizek said.

A maiden 3,000m drilling program was undertaken at Bella Tondi with results so far returning 10m grading 63.5g/t gold including the 4m at 157g/t gold interval, 8m grading 10.3g/t gold, including the 2m at 36.5g/t gold interval, and 15m grading 3.1g/t, which ended in mineralisation, indicating it continued at depth from this drill hole.

Assays from seven more holes are expected within the next three weeks.

Follow up drilling will begin by the end of April and test mineralisation along strike and at depth using either a larger reverse circulation or a diamond drill rig.

Review boosts Watershed economics

Today’s gold hits come as the Vital Metals received positive news about its Watershed tungsten project in Queensland’s far north.

A recent review has dropped the project’s anticipated expenditure to A$105.8 million from the projected A$172 million in the 2014 definitive feasibility study.

The review included updated quotes from engineering procurement and construction contractors, which helped with reducing the overall outlay by A$63 million.

Vital Metals now plans to update the existing JORC-estimate for Watershed to comply with JORC 2012.

Watershed has a mineral resource of 49 million tonnes grading 0.14% tungsten for 70,400t of the contained metal. The project also has a reserve of 21mt grading 0.15% tungsten for 31,400t tungsten.

The company hopes to fast-track development to take advantage of the tungsten market’s high prices and tight supply.

The market reacted positively to the news with the company’s share price up more than 22% to A$0.011 in mid-afternoon trade.