Nova Minerals excited about Estelle gold
Mining Explorers 2021 - January 27, 2022
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 4:18pm
Seeking to expand and upgrade its multi-million-ounce Korbel gold deposit in preparation for feasibility-level studies and explore the intriguing gold targets across the 125-square-mile (324 square kilometers) Estelle property, Australian explorer Nova Minerals Ltd. carried out one of the largest mineral exploration projects in Alaska during 2021.
Located about 100 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, the 18-mile-long Estelle property covers more than a dozen precious and base metal exploration targets.
The most advanced of these is Korbel, which hosts 286 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 0.3 grams per metric ton (3 million oz) gold; plus 583 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 0.3 g/t (5.1 million oz) gold.
In addition to upgrading and expanding the Korbel resource, Nova completed enough drilling at RPM to establish a maiden resource at this intriguing gold target about 16 miles (25 kilometers) to the south.
"Nova's multi-pronged drilling strategy is designed to advance the Korbel Main deposit towards being bankable project by 2023," said Nova Minerals CEO Christopher Gerteisen.
The 2021 program at Korbel included infill drilling to upgrade resources within the previously outlined 1,800-meter-long deposit, as well as step out drilling focused on extending the deposit to around 3,000 meters.
Much of the early drilling at Korbel was fans of holes drilled from widely spaced pads. While an efficient means of building inferred resources, this strategy did not provide the drill density for measured and indicated resources across much of Korbel, especially in the upper reaches of the deposit.
The vertical infill holes drilled during 2021 at Korbel continued to cut the wide sections of bulk tonnage gold mineralization interspersed with higher-grade "blow out" zones within the continuous mineralization.
One such hole, KBDH-066, cut 314 meters averaging 0.4 g/t gold from a depth of 15 meters. This includes a 67-meter subsection averaging 1 g/t gold from 249 meters and 13 meters of 3.9 g/t gold from 273 meters.
Like every other mining company with exploration programs in Alaska and northern Canada, Nova's turnaround time for results from the assay lab was painfully slow. To help speed up the process and reduce costs, the company completed a prep facility at Estelle in late summer.
"While assay lab turnaround times and supply chain disruptions continue to frustrate, the newly commissioned on-site prep-lab is already helping to alleviate some of the challenges in relation to assay turnaround," Gerteisen said.
While advancing Korbel toward feasibility-level studies was the primary focus of Nova's 2021 program, the Aussie company also explored RPM, a much higher-grade gold target about 16 miles to the south.
One hole drilled by a previous operator in 2012 cut 177.4 meters averaging 0.79 g/t gold from a depth of 4.3 meters at RPM, including 50.2 meters of 1.75 g/t gold.
Looking to establish a maiden resource, Nova drilled six holes during the summer of 2021 at RPM North, one of two associated target areas at RPM. The fifth hole cut an amazing 373 meters averaging 3.8 g/t gold from a depth of seven meters, including 132 meters of 10.1 g/t gold.
In October, Nova incorporated the results in a maiden inferred resource estimate for RPM North of 23.1 million averaging 2 g/t (1.5 million oz) gold.
"Nova's management, with much credit to our team on the ground, has taken the Estelle gold project from discovery to a multi-deposit gold district in a short timeframe and on relatively limited funding and the exciting point is that we're only getting started," said Gerteisen.
Reconnaissance exploration carried out by Nova geologists last year also discovered Stony, a 3,800-meter-long gold-silver-copper mineralized zone between Korbel and RPM. This prospect includes two related vein systems, Stoney and Rainy Day, and the nearby T5 magnetic anomaly.
Highlights from 26 rock chip samples collected at Stoney, Rainy Day, and T5 include: 2.04 g/t gold, 513 g/t silver, and 0.77% copper; 0.63 g/t gold, 2,720 g/t silver, and 1.1% copper; 0.17 g/t gold, 435 g/t silver, and 2.4% copper; and 48.4 g/t gold, 16 g/t silver, and 0.36% copper.
The company says geophysical programs will be planned to better define the extent of Stoney and nearby splays, as Stoney warrants drilling in 2022.