Novo upbeat on Pilbara gold ore sorting results

Novo Resources is upbeat about the latest mechanical ore sorting test results at its Beaton’s Creek conglomerate gold project in WA’s Pilbara region.  The crushing and screening tests on a 2.8 tonne split of a bulk sample have delivered a calculated head grade of 5.72 grams per tonne gold, according to the company.  Three size fractions were tested and an impressive 90.2% of gold was recovered in 54.5% of the mass of the +18/-50mm fraction.

The company said that 68.8% of gold was recovered in 42.4% of the mass of the +6/-18 mm fraction, and 95.5% of gold was recovered in 20.3% of the mass of the +2.3/-6 mm fraction. Whilst these results are considered indicative at this time, further optimization testing will now be considered.

Novo has been working through a laboratory-scale, mechanical ore sorting test program of bulk samples from its Beaton’s Creek, Egina and Karratha conglomerate gold projects in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.  It said that nuggety gold occurring in the Beaton’s Creek conglomerate is finer grained than the gold in its other projects however upgrades of gold concentrations are achievable at Beaton’s Creek.

The company delivered a bulk sample of approximately 5.6 tonnes of material sourced from costeans at Beaton’s Creek to the laboratories of Bureau Veritas in Perth for the initial crushing and screening process.  The material was then split for further screening analysis at two locations, one being in Perth and one in Castle Hill, NSW.

Test work was conducted at Steinert Global’s Bibra Lake and Canning Vale testing facilities on a 2.8t split of a Beaton’s Creek bulk samples that was crushed to -50mm and screened into at least three fractions.  Novo said that the vast majority of gold was recovered from mechanically sorted concentrates in each of the three size fractions tested.

Material finer than 2.3 mm, comprising 17% of the total mass of the bulk sample, was not tested due to excessive dust issues. Novo believes such material is treatable by means of gravity concentration.  The TSX listed company is now awaiting the results of mechanical ore sorting tests on another 2.8t bulk sample split that was delivered to the TOMRA sorting test facility in New South Wales, where various mechanical sorters will be utilized.

Novo Resources CEO, Rob Humphryson said; “We are highly encouraged by these initial results.  We are already fully confident about the outcome of Egina mechanical sorting test work which demonstrated excellent recoveries into very small concentrates. Our Beaton’s Creek test work is more investigative in nature owing to the finer gold grain size, so to achieve such levels of upgrade in first phase testing is remarkable.”

“Mechanical sorting test work is likely to become an integral part of future exploration and economic modeling as we hopefully progress each of our projects towards production should the economic viability and technical feasibility of the project be established. This is particularly true given our natural advantage of being able to source abundant bulk sample material from outcropping deposits within our projects.”

Novo Resources has previously published an indicated, open cut mineral resource at Beaton’s Creek grading 2.1g/t for 457,000 oz gold from 6.6mt with a cut-off grade of 0.5g/t gold.  The company also reported an inferred mineral resource of 3.41mt grading 2.7g/t for 294,000oz of gold at Beaton’s Creek.

Management said that all aspects of the current testing program are due to be completed in the current quarter and it will be interesting to see just what this style of ore sorting can do for the project economics.

The whole conglomerate gold story in the Pilbara hit the headlines a couple of years ago, sparking a gold rush to the area with a number of wanna-be’s packing their swag and heading north, however only a few serious players like Novo remain.

Novo has stayed the distance and done the hard yards designing a processing system for its conglomerate gold that can be difficult to quantify and liberate and it would appear that it is now closing in on a business model that just might work, aided by modern, ultra-fast scanning technology.


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