The emerging mineral exploration company presented at Diggers and Dealers this week, outlining how it plans to develop the cornerstone project less than one week after it unveiled its latest quarterly report.
Looking ahead, the ASX-lister is working through a 50,000-metre drilling campaign in a bid to deliver another mineral resource update at Pickle Crow, where Auteco is on track to secure 80% of the project by year’s end.
Auteco also maintains it is well-funded to progress operations and advance its growth strategy; the company ended the June quarter with A$21.8 million in the bank.
“Good news continues to flow”
Speaking to the company’s June quarter activities, Auteco Minerals executive chairman Ray Shorrocks said: “It has been a highly successful quarter, marked by the delivery of the resource increase and the subsequent exceptional drill results, which point to further growth in the inventory.
“We have grown the high-grade Pickle Crow resource by 710,000 ounces. This is an outstanding result and has been achieved at a cost of around A$15 per ounce.
“And the good news continues to flow, with the new drilling program already intersecting significant high-grade mineralisation outside the updated resource envelope.
“To further capitalise on this quarter’s success, another 50,000-metre drill program is underway. The new drilling program will focus on inventory growth and regional discovery.”
As it prepares to increase its stake in Pickle Crow, Auteco has unveiled a three-pronged forward work plan, focused on long-term growth and developing a pathway to production.
The first stage is exploration-heavy, with the Auteco board approving a further 50,000 metres of drilling at the cornerstone gold asset.
Between four and six drill rigs will be on-site at any one time to execute the program, while the company will also conduct target-generative work.
Following that, the ASX-lister has its sights set on a mineral resource estimate (MRE) update, after a mid-year review brought the MRE up to 6.6 million tonnes at 8.1 g/t gold for 1.71 million contained gold ounces. Auteco intends to update the resource as at December 31, 2021.
Beyond that, the company hopes to move to high-level activities that demonstrate its pathway to production, including advanced exploration permitting, review and assessment work.
Importantly, the 1.7-million-ounce project is still growing, with 710,000 ounces of near-surface gold resource added to the MRE in a 10-month window.
June quarter highlights
One of the key June quarter highlights came in May 2021, when Auteco completed a Stage 1 earn-in to earn 51% of the Pickle Crow project.
The company issued 100 million AUT shares to increase its stake and has since set its sights on boosting its holding further to an 80% interest.
Earlier this week, Auteco announced its second stage expenditure requirement, detailed under the earn-in agreement with First Mining Gold, has been satisfied, meaning the ASX-lister can now move to 70% equity ownership of the Pickle Crow Gold Project.
Overall, the June quarter marked the end of a 10-month strategic work program that involved more than 45,000 metres of drilling and 166 diamond drill holes.
Just after the June quarter closed, Auteco grew the Pickle Crow gold resource by 71% to its current 1.7-million-ounce status.
A subsequent 50,000-metre drilling program is currently underway, with strong intersections including:
- 1.8 metres at 16.6 g/t gold from 61.5 metres;
- 3.3 metres at 8.0 g/t from 836.4 metres;
- 1.8 metres at 21.2 g/t from 838 metres;
- 4.9 metres at 4.7 g/t from 514 metres, including 2.1 metres at 10.4 g/t; and
- 1 metre at 14.1 g/t from 432 metres.
Auteco has also unearthed a new gold target at Pickle Crow, dubbed the Carey discovery, where it has intersected as much as 5.3 g/t gold during recent exploration.
Follow up drilling at the Carey discovery is in progress, with results expected in the September quarter.
In addition to this new target, drilling has extended the known high-grade gold mineralisation in Pickle Crow’s Shaft 3 and Shaft 1 areas.
Auteco has so far completed almost 8,000 metres and 35 diamond drill holes in its new exploration campaign, with four drill rigs currently on site.
Heading into the new financial year, Auteco has nearly A$22 million in the bank to support its phase two exploration program.
Over the June quarter, the ASX-lister expensed A$4.3 million on exploration activities, while payments to related parties and their associates for executive and non-executive directors fees, including (where applicable) superannuation, totalled A$118,000.
Taking into account its cash flow and available cash reserves, Auteco maintains it has enough capital to sustain operations for another 18 months, depending on exploration spend.