Great Southern Mining has flicked the switch on a possible near-term development of its Mon Ami gold project near Laverton in WA. The company is weighing up the economics of exploiting the project’s maiden gold resource via an open-cut mining and toll treatment operation and has launched the various technical studies that set it on the development pathway to gold production.
ASX-listed gold explorer, Great Southern Mining, has flicked the switch on a possible near-term, low-CAPEX development of its Mon Ami gold project 12km south-east of Laverton in WA. The company is weighing up the economics of exploiting the project’s gold resource via an open-cut mining and toll treatment operation.
In parallel with the various technical studies and stakeholder engagement setting it on the development pathway to mining and gold production, Great Southern will also undertake a fresh round of drilling at Mon Ami. The drilling will piggyback off the follow-up 4,000m RC campaign at its exciting Cox’s Find gold project 80km north of Mon Ami.
The Perth-based company’s new drilling program at Mon Ami is designed to top up the results from about 60 holes of previous RC drilling over the past couple of years and increase the geological understanding and level of confidence in the deposit. Both the Mon Ami and Cox’s Find drilling campaigns will kick off next month.
The mineral resource estimate for Mon Ami currently stands at an inferred 1.1 million tonnes going 1.7 grams per tonne for 59,000 ounces of contained gold. Great Southern is hoping to upgrade the classification of the resource to the indicated category as well as expand it after the next batch of drilling.
Notable high-grade intersections from the RC drilling carried out at Mon Ami a few months ago were 11m grading 7.9 g/t gold from 26m including 4m at 15.9 g/t, and 4m at 12.4 g/t from 80m. Interpretation of the results has identified possible extensions to these high-grade zones that the company will test with shallow RC drilling.
Great Southern pressed the button on progressing along the development pathway towards the potential start-up of an open-pit gold mine at Mon Ami in the wake of an encouraging in-house preliminary economic evaluation.
The outcome from the review was sufficiently positive, the company says, for it to launch the full suite of mandatory development-related activities as a forerunner to obtaining mining approval. To that end, heritage surveying and geotechnical studies underpinning pit design parameters are under way.
Great Southern says it expects further improvement in the economic case for the potential low-CAPEX, open-pit development once the assays from the forthcoming drilling program have been received and analysed. It will then be looking to re-estimate the Mon Ami mineral resource. Both the resource update and approval for mining are targeted for some time next year.
Metallurgical test work that the company conducted in 2018 on fresh and transitional rock at Mon Ami, which will be the focus of any open-pit development, returned gold recoveries averaging 95 per cent.
Fast-tracking into gold production from the mining and processing of Mon Ami ore – should the development go ahead – will likely lead to more than handy cash flows to help fund Great Southern’s aggressive exploration plans across its gold project portfolio in WA and Queensland.
The next step for the company will be getting the required development-related pre-mining approval work done over coming weeks and months, with its strategy being to present the project as “shovel ready” to the gold miners or owners of nearby gold processing plants for proposed toll milling discussions.
According to the gold hopeful, there are numerous potential toll-milling options within 150km of Mon Ami. One of these is Gold Fields’ Granny Smith plant, which is located approximately 14km to the south-west and is operating, Great Southern says, at half of its installed capacity.
The company points out that substantial commercial discussions with gold miners who own processing plants have not taken place. It intends to defer any toll treatment talks until the Mon Ami development studies are further advanced to add value to the project.
Great Southern Mining Chief Executive, Sean Gregory said: “Our in-house preliminary economic review has identified a potential low-cost development pathway for an open-pit mining operation at Mon Ami. The planned drilling program seeks to expand on this opportunity and test for higher-grade extensions to the deposit at depth.”
“Rapid development at Mon Ami has the potential to deliver a robust source of cash flow for Great Southern, allowing further acceleration of the aggressive exploration plans across our Australian gold portfolio.”
The Mon Ami project area lies within the Laverton greenstone belt in a world-class minerals province that plays host to a gold endowment of multimillion-ounce orebodies including AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam and Gold Fields’ Wallaby mines.
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