Bellevue Gold Limited (ASX:BGL) made strong progress on the project development and exploration fronts during the December 2020 quarter, setting the stage for an important year in 2021.
The company has almost completed the feasibility study on its Bellevue Gold Project in WA, putting it on track for release in the current quarter, and is also pursuing an aggressive exploration program.
In its quarterly report, Bellevue managing director Steve Parsons said: “This was another outstanding quarter with a significant increase in the indicated resource to 1 million ounces, the discovery of more high-grade mineralisation outside the resource and strong progress on the feasibility study.
“With the feasibility study almost completed and aggressive infill and resource drilling programs underway, we are moving into the next chapter of value creation at Bellevue.
“I’m confident that this will be another rewarding period for shareholders as we develop the mine and infrastructure in preparation for production and continue unlocking value through drilling.”
The feasibility study, which is being led by mining specialist Entech, is based on the updated indicated resource of 1 million ounces at 11.4 g/t gold.
This study is progressing well with the inclusion of the recently discovered Armand resource in the mine planning.
Mine design, geotechnical, metallurgical, hydrogeology, power supply, process design and non-process infrastructure studies are nearing completion and are ready for inclusion into the project schedule and financial modelling cases.
The studies are progressing on schedule with an expected release date in the current quarter.
Engagement and consultation with recognised traditional owners of the land over the planned infrastructure locations to support the feasibility study continued throughout the quarter.
Importantly, there is a further 1.4 million ounces of inferred resource at the Bellevue project and infill drilling is now underway to upgrade a significant proportion of this to the indicated category.
Bellevue marked its transition to project developer with an increase in its independently estimated indicated resource by 20% to 1.04 million ounces of gold at 11.4 g/t.
The updated resource includes the maiden estimate for the Armand Lode discovery, comprising indicated resources of 200,000 tonnes at 15.4 g/t for 100,000 ounces and inferred resources of 220,000 tonnes at 12.0 g/t for 800,000 ounces.
This resource includes three independent mining areas between Armand, Deacon and Viago totalling 1.15 million tonnes at 15.2 g/t gold for 560,000 ounces of indicated resources within those high-grade areas.
The total resource at the Bellevue Gold Project increased to 2.41 million ounces at 10.0 g/t gold, comprised of 1.04 million ounces at 11.4 g/t gold of indicated and 1.37 million ounces at 9.2 g/t gold of inferred resources.
In parallel with the feasibility study and infill drilling campaign, Bellevue is pursuing an aggressive exploration program designed to grow the total resource by testing for extensions to known mineralisation and drilling new regional targets.
The company made strong progress on project development during the quarter, including rehabilitation of the historical Paris Decline portal.
This has enabled the company to establish underground drilling platforms and begin underground diamond drilling, which allows drilling to be conducted more quickly, cheaply and accurately than from the surface.
Oblique view of the Long Section of the Bellevue Resource Model showing new areas that have been the focus of the recent Indicated conversion drilling as well as the new Marceline Gold Discovery.
During the December quarter, the company completed 61 holes for 27,860 metres of diamond drilling.
Exploration also included the first deeper drill holes completed at the project, conducted as part of the co-funded exploration incentive scheme (EIS).
Resource drilling continued at Deacon Main and Deacon North focusing on converting further indicated resources and resulted in two new significant shallow high-grade discoveries; the Armand and the Marceline Lodes.
In December 2020, the company began underground drilling with the first underground program targeting mineralisation at Marceline with a significant amount of core awaiting assay.
Significant drilling has been continuing on-site with up to six diamond rigs operating during the quarter, targeting further infill to upgrade the indicated resource and exploration step-out drilling.
As of December 31 2020, Bellevue Gold held $127.6 million in cash.
In November 2020, the company appointed Orimco Pty Ltd as independent debt advisors to assist and support management in the preparation, planning, implementation and completion for the Bellevue project financing.
With the feasibility study due for release in the March 2021 quarter, the company believes the appointment will provide for a more efficient financing process and allow sufficient time for competitive tendering.