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Nova ramping drills back up at Estelle

After COVID-19 hiatus, 2020 gold exploration drilling resumes North of 60 Mining News – April 17, 2020

Series: COVID-19 coverage | Story 31

In what appears to be a positive turn for the 2020 exploration season in Alaska, Nova Minerals Ltd. is preparing to have drills turning again soon at its 2.5-million-ounce Estelle gold project.

The Australia-based explorer mobilized equipment and crews earlier this year to carry out an 18,500-meter 2020 phase-1 program at Estelle. Drilling got underway in February but was quickly wound down due to health concerns and restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following a brief hiatus, the drilling contractor is in the process of remobilizing to continue the 2020 resource development and exploration drilling at Estelle.

"After events that have been out of all our control, we are pleased to be recommencing the 2020 drill program and look forward to an exciting growth period for Nova in 2020 with the view of significantly increasing the resource," said Nova Minerals Managing director Avi Kimelman.

In order to protect employees and contractors, as well as their families and communities, Nova said it has enacted COVID-19 protocols in accordance with the guidance by global, federal and state health organizations.

"We are aligning our activities with recommendations from the WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and local Alaskan state authorities and will work with strict protocols in place," said Kimelman. "Business must go on – our crew as a whole is a tough bunch that believe in the project and are eager to progress the project into the next world significant gold camp."

Toward this objective, the drills will resume targeting an area of Korbel Block B that is currently envisioned as a "starter pit" for future mining at Estelle.

Nova drilled 18 holes across Korbel Block A and Block B during its first drill program at Estelle last year.

The results from this drilling, along with a couple of previously drilled holes, were used to calculate an inaugural Australian Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (JORC) compliant inferred resource for this one area towards the north end of the 18-mile (29 kilometers) long Estelle property.

Completed last fall, the calculation outlines 181.3 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 0.43 grams per metric ton (2.5 million ounces) gold in Korbel blocks A and B.

This year, Nova plans to both upgrade and expand this resource.

The 2.5 million oz of gold outlined so far is mostly within 100 meters of surface and the company sees enormous potential to expand the deposit to a depth of at least 500 meters.

Induced polarization geophysics carried out by Nova shows the chargeability anomaly that hosts the gold mineralization extends to at least a depth of 300 meters.

One hole drilled by a previous operator in 2011, SE11-001, cut 460 meters averaging 0.40 g/t gold, providing clear evidence the gold extends even further.

In addition to expanding the resource laterally and to depth, Nova expects the added drill density provided by this drilling will upgrade some of the inferred resources to the measured and indicated category.

The overall objective is to push the starter pit area of Block B towards a feasibility study in 2021.

Nova has also defined outside drill targets at Korbel within blocks A, C, D, and Cathedral, all within about 1,000 meters of Block B.

Across the wider Estelle property, additional large targets have been identified at the RPM and Shoeshine prospects.

RPM is a target near the southern end of the Estelle property where one hole drilled in 2012 cut 177.4 meters averaging 0.79 g/t gold from a depth of 4.3 meters, including 50.2 meters of 1.75 g/t gold from a depth of 75.2 meters.

Shoeshine is an early staged exploration target about 4.5 miles (seven kilometers) northeast of RPM.

Nova plans to carry out additional exploration at both targets, including potential drilling this year.

In total, the Australian explorer has identified 15 gold targets across the district-scale Estelle property and sees the potential for further discoveries.

"The company looks forward to this program and is confident with our prioritized systematic exploration strategy, the team's experience and commitment, we are now well on track and confident to solidify the Estelle project as the next emerging major gold camp," said Kimelman.

While the COVID-19 pause has put the 2020 Estelle program behind the originally planned schedule, Nova got a very early start on the Alaska exploration season and believes it can make up for the lost time.

"We are a family at Nova; we take care of each other first and foremost and will make this happen," the Nova managing director added.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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