THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Being the recent target of three formal takeover attempts has not stopped Alto Metals (ASX: AME) from adding gold ounces to its Lord Nelson deposit in Western Australia’s East Murchison. By Mark Fraser
Despite restricted access to regular fund-raising mechanisms during these corporate shenanigans, the WA-based junior has still managed to increase Lord Nelson’s inventory by 60 per cent (or 41,000 gold oz) since the start of last year.
As a result, the company has now established an inferred mineral resource for the deposit of 1.8 million tonnes grading 1.9 grams per tonne gold for 109,000 ounces.
Lord Nelson is just one of a number of targets which makes up the company’s wholly-owned – and obviously sought after – Sandstone gold project.
The others are Lord Henry, the Indomitable and Vanguard camps as well as Havilah and Ladybird.
Covering around 800 square kilometres of prospective greenstone belt, the Sandstone project sits some 600km north of the WA capital of Perth and currently boasts a resource of 6.2 million tonnes at 1.7g/t for 331,000 ounces of yellow metal.
During its previous life Lord Nelson – which was discovered by former owner Troy Resources (ASX: TRY) – yielded around 200,000 gold ounces at 4.6g/t from an open pit that was only dug down to 90m depth.
The mining house, however, lost interest in the deposit after it hit transitional fresh rock – mainly because it was looking for oxide material to feed its processing mill, which is now owned by former Alto suitor and current neighbour Middle Island Resources (ADX: MDI).
During his appearance at the recent RIU Resurgence Conference, Alto Metals managing director Matthew Bowles said the company’s immediate exploration focus was on the extensions of known mineralisation at both Lord Nelson and Lord Henry (located 3km to the south) and the corridor (a granodiorite intrusion) in between.
So far, drilling down to 200m depth at the former has revealed an “underground grade” of 16m at 5.5g/t.
Furthermore, Alto has discovered a new lode – Orion – along the Lord’s corridor just to Lord Nelson’s south.
Here, the drill rig has returned a number of promising gold intercepts, including: 10m at 4.1g/t (from 34m depth), 12m at 3.4g/t (66m) and 23m at 3.8g/t (106m).
Bowles said Alto was now confident it was on the verge of finding a “much bigger system” at Lord’s, which boasts historical production of 250,000 ounces from material mined at just 50-80m depth.
This includes 48,000 ounces at Lord Henry, where the current inferred mineral resource sits at 1.82 million tonnes at 1.9g/t gold for 109,000 contained ounces, while drilling has yielded substantial yellow metal intercepts like 2m at 51.3g/t from 70m, 6m at 10.2g/t (50m) and 2m at 20.3g/t (64m).
“What we’ve done is taken a lot of the fantastic work that Troy’s exploration geologists did, we’ve analysed that (and) we’ve overlaid it with a lot of the geology, a lot of the interp(retation) that we’ve had,” Bowles explained.
“We’ve identified a number of cross cutting structures, and coinciding with those cross cutting structures is … a lot of the original shallow drilling that Troy did when they were going up that corridor.
“And bear in mind they were looking for oxide ounces at surface. So there were a lot of those things that weren’t drilled very deeply.
“So we’re going back in – we are not restricted by the mill, and we are looking at finding a big discovery.”