Novo Resources has completed a battery of test work on the bulk samples from its Karratha gold project, successfully recovering fine nuggety gold from the conglomerate ores found at both the Purdy’s Reward and Comet Well deposits. The recovery of this size fraction, via mechanical sorting, significantly enhances the potential economics of the operation and validates the process flow sheet being designed for the developing operation.
Novo Resources has completed a battery of test work on the bulk samples from its Karratha gold project, successfully recovering fine nuggety gold from the conglomerate ores found at both the Purdy’s Reward and Comet Well deposits. The recovery of the fine fraction, at less than 8mm, significantly enhances the potential economics of the operation and validates the process flow sheet being designed for the developing operation.
The test work program has been carried out by process equipment solutions provider, Steinert at its laboratories in Perth. Steinert is assisting Novo in the design of a processing circuit for the Pilbara conglomerate ores which will include crushing, screening, and mechanical sorting to enhance the recovery of gold from the nugget-rich feed.
One of the key outcomes of the work program was confirmation that mechanical sorting significantly enhances gold recoveries, validating Novo’s choice of the Steinert’s KSS sorter for the operation which is scheduled for delivery next month and deployment for field trials through 2021.
Novo Resources’ Chief Executive Officer, Rob Humphryson said:
“These test results have confirmed our understanding of how sorting can be applied to the Karratha Project. A great deal of planning has gone into ensuring the success of the field trials in 2021, with input from a wide cross section of the Novo team who are at the forefront of the art of applying sorting technology to the Company’s unique gold deposits.”
Currently, Novo Resources’ primary focus is the development program at its Nullagine operations, 250km south-east of Port Headland in the south of Western Australia’s Pilbara Craton. The company is currently moving its 11 million tonne Beaton Creek gold deposits toward production, utilising its recently acquired Golden Eagle plant south of town. It is aiming to begin processing at the resurgent operation in the first quarter of 2021.
Separately, Novo’s Karratha conglomerate gold project lies in the north of the Pilbara, a mere 45km south of the coastal town of Karratha. The project consists of over 6,000 square kilometres across the prospective gold terrane with exploration and development outlining an 8km long corridor hosting high-grade, gold-bearing conglomerate ores including the celebrated deposits at Comet Well and Purdy’s Reward.
The conglomerate discoveries at Karratha have proven challenging to quantify due to the fickle nature of the nuggety mineralisation which has required an innovative approach to both the mining and processing of these types of deposits.
Gold nuggets from the Karratha projects are generally characterised as being ‘melon seed’ sized, 5mm to 10mm in diameter, making them an ideal size for recovery by gravity or mechanical method.
The current test work with Steinert is designed to refine the processing route to be used during field testing scheduled to commence early next year. This evolution will hopefully confirm the recovery of gold from a range of feed sizes within the deposit, via mechanical sorting. The testing will also analyse the relationship between productivity and recovery through the processing circuit, prior to the commencement of full-scale mining operations.
Novo is now finalising its lab testing in Perth and has flagged a rapid move into field work with a barrage of activity already underway at Karratha including native title, environment and mining approvals. In addition, the company’s technical team is undertaking detailed mapping of the deposits to gain a greater understanding of the geology and distribution of gold, to better target trial mining.
The company is now expecting the arrival its Steinert KSS mechanical sorter in Perth during November 2020, as scheduled. The sorter will be preassembled before being transported to the Pilbara in early 2021. The sorter will form a key component within the trial processing circuit with the company also engaging with various contractors to provide mining, crushing and screening services for the operation, with field testing expected to commence between March and April 2021.
With Novo barrelling towards production at Nullagine, the emerging trial mining operation at Karratha suggests this budding gold producer is looking to open up production on a second front sooner rather than later.
Investors will no doubt be looking towards this dualling production schedule with keen interest and heightened expectation.
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