The latest analyzes of the Bellevue gold project support a proposal to increase the production capacity of the asset and could have a significant impact on the broader gold resource.
Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX: BGL) believes the latest infill and extension drilling results could improve the expected production rate and economics of the project on its namesake gold zone in Western Australia.
The Materials Inventory recently completed extension drilling on its Bellevue Gold Project, an activity it believes paves the way for an increase in the asset’s gold resources and reserves.
Further drilling activity identified significant extensions of mineralization at the Project’s Deacon North and Marceline veins, which are expected to add more ounces to mineral resources at a low level of capital intensity.
Interestingly, the new tests underpin a feasibility study proposal to increase the capacity of the Bellevue production plant by 33%, which means it could produce one million tonnes of resources per year at start-up.
Focus on “significant growth potential”
Bellevue Managing Director Steve Parsons said drilling results continued to demonstrate the strength of the company’s investment proposition at all levels.
“The drill results provide further evidence of the significant potential to increase the total inventory and upgrade more inferred resources within the indicated category, while also demonstrating the excellent continuity of mineralization.
“These factors are all very consistent with the strategic objective of our second stage feasibility study, which is to increase production and mine life with minimal increase in capital cost.
“Given the strength of these latest results and the fact that we have built significant room for growth into the original costs, we are eager to complete the second stage feasibility study. “
The results are in
Promisingly, extension drilling conducted off the current reserve in the Deacon North and Marceline de Bellevue areas has defined some of the best intersections to date.
The results include:
- 5.6 meters at 62.7 g / t gold over 496.4 meters during underground drilling;
- 12.5 meters at 18.8 g / t from 704.7 meters;
- 10.1 meters at 9.7 g / t from 412.2 meters during underground drilling; and
- 0.8 meter at 288.2 g / t from 670.2 meters.
Following the high grade intersections, Bellevue used two surface diamond drill rigs and two underground diamond drill rigs to continue work in the area.
The exploration program will target resource growth and conversion in the wider Deacon Corridor, including the Deacon North and Marceline veins, where resources remain open.
Earlier this month, Bellevue also embarked on a grade control drilling program. Some of the best intersections in this program include:
- 5 meters at 76.4 g / t gold at 55 meters, including 2 meters at 176.6 g / t;
- 5 meters at 31.7 g / t from 43 meters;
- 5 meters at 30.5 g / t from 28 meters; and
- 2 meters at 48.9 g / t from 20 meters.
Currently, the Bellevue area has 2.7 million ounces of resources, grading 9.9 g / t gold. This estimate includes 1.2 million ounces at 11 g / t of indicated resources and an ore reserve of 690,000 ounces, grading 8 g / t.
Analytics support larger scale mining
Bellevue Gold believes the latest results from its namesake gold zone pave the way for increased production capacity, which is outlined in its updated feasibility study.
The increase in the processing capacity of the Bellevue project will result in an increase in production and the overall economy of the project from the first stage of the study which generated $ 1.1 billion in free cash flow ( at $ 2,300 per ounce of gold) at the bottom quartile all-in sustaining cost level.
In view of the potential impact of the latest results on the resource, the deadline to include new drill data in the second stage feasibility study has been extended, with the study now due to be published in the quarter of September 2021.
The diagram shows the proposed capital work required to increase Bellevue’s production capacity.
Promisingly, the expansion is poised to incur minimal additional capital costs due to the growth arrangements outlined in the underground mine design of the first stage of the feasibility study and the evolving plant layout.
Bellevue has $ 116 million in cash and cash equivalents available to complete its existing work and exploration program.
He plans to shortlist potential project lenders in the coming weeks, while long-term items like the purchase of a crusher and construction of a mining camp are expected to start in the September quarter.