Drilling Recommences at the Estelle Gold Trend
With the timely capital management strategy announced on 11 April 2022, which has now capitalised the company with circa AUD$28,000,000 in cash and further liquid investments underpinning continuous work on the PFS, drilling operations have now recommenced, with the various mine and process optimisation, material haulage and environmental studies still ongoing. Additional drill crews are currently being mobilized to the project site as the Company continues to ramp up the drilling program significantly over the coming weeks, with 4 diamond drill rigs and the RC scout drill to be used this year, and the possibility of further rigs being added later, dependant on assay result confirmations. The drill program planned for this year will be the most important and transformational for the Company to date, with the aim being to increase the size and confidence of both the Korbel and RPM deposits for inclusion in the Phase 2 Scoping Study, due out later this year, and the PFS in 2023.
- The drill program commences in the Korbel Valley with the initial goal of infill drilling the saddle area within the proposed conceptual Korbel Main pit zone to convert additional Inferred resources from the 8.1 Moz total gold resource (3.0 Moz Indicated | 5.1 Moz Inferred - ASX Announcement: 23 December 2021) into the higher indicated category
- Maiden drill testing the exciting Cathedral target within the greater Korbel Valley, which has reconnaissance rock chip samples of up to 114 g/t, and which geophysics show could potentially be the source of the Korbel Valley mineralized system
- Additional near-term opportunity to increase resource tonnages, outside the current 8.1 Moz Resource at Korbel Main (Blocks A and B), at Korbel Blocks C, D, Isabella and You Beauty
- RPM drill crews to assemble at site while pad building crews build pads over the coming weeks to follow up on the RPM-005 132m @ 10.1g/t intercept (ASX Announcement: 11 September 2021). Drill rigs are in final preparation of being mobilized to RPM, subject to weather conditions and pads being completed
- Field exploration work to commence in coming months to advance the pipeline of additional high priority prospects across the Estelle Gold Trend, with a focus on the RPM surrounds and Muddy Creek
- Continue the various mine and process optimisation, material haulage and environmental studies for the Phase 2 Scoping Study, which data will also be incorporated into the PFS, and which will include the Korbel and RPM deposits
- Continuous flow of drill results from the ongoing Korbel and RPM programs to be reported throughout the year, as assay results become available
Nova CEO, Mr. Christopher Gerteisen commented: "This is another transformational year for Nova and we are excited to be recommencing drilling to further unlock the Estelle Gold Trend, with the view to adding additional tonnage to the already large resource, particularly in the higher Indicated category from both the RPM and Korbel Main deposits, for inclusion in the very important upcoming Phase 2 Scoping Study. The Phase 1 Scoping Study announced in February, while showing that Korbel Main was a viable project in its own right, was constrained by the amount of Indicated resources available from a single ore source. However, as the sensitivity analysis demonstrated, a small increase in the resource grade will substantially increase both the NPV and IRR of the project. We anticipate the inclusion of the high-grade RPM feed ore through the proposed Korbel Central Processing Plant, with minimal additional capital expenditure required as the current proposed plant has the flexibility to receive feed from ore sorter grade control and multiple ore sources, will result in significantly higher economic metrics being proved for the project in the Phase 2 Scoping Study due later this year.
Like I have said in the past, not all that many opportunities come around to drill systems this large and of such high grade as we have at the Estelle Gold Trend, with an established 9.6 Moz total gold resource on a small area with both deposits remaining wide open and many other prospects yet to be explored as we continue to unlock the wider district. Our exploration efforts to date have produced results at an extremely low cost per discovered ounce and we intend to maintain this run rate with additional drill rigs and the on-site prep lab allowing economies of scale.
With the team's experience, commitment, vision, and passion, we look forward to keeping the market updated as we advance the Company through this truly exciting and transformational period as we continue to progress on our plans of unlocking a large gold trend containing multiple bulk tonnage gold deposits with the ultimate goal of becoming a world-class, tier-one, global gold producer".
The absolute focus of the Company and the drill plans this year is on converting more of the Korbel Main Inferred resource into the higher Indicated category and expanding and converting the highgrade RPM 1.5 Moz @ 2g/t resource into Indicated to feed into the Company's Phase 2 Scoping Study scheduled for delivery later this year. The proposed lower priority extensional drill holes are provisional and subject to change as assay results are returned. Drill rigs may also be moved around from the plan based on assay results as they come in, and if justified further drill rigs may be added.
Nova has grown its delineated world-class global gold resource inventory very quickly at the Estelle Gold Trend development since 2018, increasing it by 190% alone since 2020 from 3.3 Moz to 9.6 Moz (including 3.0 Moz Indicated category) and is on track to maintain this trajectory.
Strict financial discipline over the past three years has allowed Nova to deliver strong returns on capital and equity, which will only be enhanced in 2022 with less helicopters required, and the independent sample preparation facility fully dialled in for all samples. Nova's discovery cost per ounce to date is less than $3.50/oz, which is well below the industry average of over $20/oz.
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About Nova Minerals Limited
Nova Minerals Limited's (ASX:NVA) (FRA:QM3) (OTCMKTS:NVAAF) vision is to develop North America's next major gold trend. The company is focused on exploration in Alaska's prolific Tintina Gold Belt, a province which hosts a 220 million ounce (Moz) documented gold endowment and some of the world's largest gold mines and discoveries including Victoria Gold's Eagle Mine and Kinross Gold Corporation's Fort Knox Gold Mine. The company's flagship Estelle Project has a current total estimated JORC gold resource of 9.6Moz (3Moz Indicated and 6.6Moz Inferred). Estelle is a 45km long string of 15 identified gold prospects bracketed by the Korbel deposit in the north and the RPM deposit in the south. These two deposits are currently host to extensive exploration programs.
Additionally, Nova has an indirect interest in the Canadian Thompson Brothers Lithium Project through a substantial stake in Snow Lake Resources Ltd (NASDAQ:LITM) and holds a 12.99% interest in Torian Resources Limited (ASX:TNR), a gold exploration company based in Western Australia.
Nova Minerals Limited