Nexus Minerals Ltd’s (ASX:NXM) Pinnacles joint venture gold project with Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) in Western Australia has the potential for near-term cash flow and gold production.
The junior miner has outlined its six months program – with Pinnacles topping its list – after having completed a scoping study and embarking on a feasibility study.
This study will incorporate additional resource, definition drilling, geotechnical drilling, environmental studies and metallurgical test-work, along with other key assessments and permitting.
The Pinnacles project also has the potential for an underground high-grade gold mine below the open pit.
In highlighting the project's attributes Nexus outlines the low capital cost in development and resource discovery, the high gold price at around A$2,500 plus per ounce, de-risking metrics, the accelerating production timeline and the use of all of Saracen’s mine and mill infrastructure.
Nexus managing director Andy Tudor said: “Due to the pre-existing ore sales agreement with Saracen, there is very low capital expenditure required to initiate mining, with any ore mined to be processed through Saracen’s Carosue Dam Operation.”
The project, which covers more than 125 square kilometres of granted mining tenements, has a JORC 2012 combined mineral resource of 609,000 tonnes at 4 g/t gold for 78,000 ounces.
- Open pit resource of 159,000 tonnes at 2.4 g/t gold for 12,000 ounces; and
- Underground resource of 450,000 tonnes at 4.6 g/t gold for 66,000 ounces.
Saracen will buy ore produced at the project by way of an ore sale and purchase agreement.
Ore produced will be processed at Saracen’s 2.4 million tonnes per annum mill at Carosue Dam Mining operations, about 13 kilometres to the north. The mill is being upgraded to boost annual capacity to 3.2 million tonnes.
Wallbrook gold project
On its Wallbrook Gold project, 140 kilometres northeast of Kalgoorlie and north of the Carosue dam operations, Nexus said prospects had been identified to date for follow-up exploration and prospective drill targeting.
The Wallbrook project covers the Crusader, Templar, Paint, Branches and Golden Dyke Prospects.
Its planned exploration activities over the next six months include:
- Historic data compilation across 250 square kilometres tenure;
- Exploration strategy development;
- Geological - alteration - structural mapping;
- Analysis of new & historical geochemical datasets;
- Modelling of new & historical geophysical datasets;
- Ground geophysical surveys – gravity & magnetics; and
- Aircore/reverse circulation/diamond drill programs.
Research & development
The company also hopes to conduct final interpretation and reporting on its research & development project aimed at developing new knowledge on the application of spectral data in the mineral exploration industry by September 2020.
This project involves the experimentation of new exploration and geo-sensing techniques utilising spectral data.
Experimental activities will attempt to achieve an outcome by applying a systematic progression of work that proceeds from hypothesis to experimental phase (or phases as required), observation and evaluation, leading to logical conclusions.
This will result in the generation of new scientific knowledge.
The R&D project is being undertaken on both its Wallbrook and Pinnacles projects, where relevant geological and mineralogical characteristics are known or are being characterised by Nexus, which assists in the evaluation of the new exploration technique.
Multiple project areas allow for a series of varying geological settings upon which to undertake the experimental activities and gather sufficient samples to allow logical conclusions to be reached post-analysis.
The R&D project, which started in July 2017, is targeted to take four years, with the first two-three years mainly consisting of data collection with ongoing analysis and the final year consisting of results-based interpretation and conclusions.