THE DRILL SERGEANT: Millennium Minerals (ASX: MOY) has progressed development of the proposed underground mining operation at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Nullagine gold project in Western Australia.
Millennium Minerals has completed an updated Mineral Resource and interim Ore Reserve for the Bartons deposit, comprising 627,300 tonnes grading 4.9 grams per tonne gold for 97,900 ounces of contained gold – a 22 per cent increase on the Phase 1 Mineral Resource announced in August 2017.
Millennium explained the updated Mineral Resource features a more than sixfold increase in Indicated Resources to 407,400 tonnes grading 5.6g/t gold for 72,900 ounces, up from 10,100 ounces previously.
The company said both the Phase 2 Mineral Resource and the maiden Ore Reserve will underpin a Feasibility Study on the Bartons underground mine, due for completion this quarter.
The Nullagine gold project achieved gold production of 21,400 ounces for the December 2017 quarter from ore sourced predominantly from the Bartons open pit cut-back, as well as the Au 81 West and Little Wonder deposits.
The fourth quarter operational performance took production for CY 2017 to 72,800 ounces of gold.
The company has finalised mine plans and production budget for the March 2018 quarter, which it expects to be underpinned predominantly by high-grade ore feed from the new Bartons open pit cut-back, supplemented by ore from the Au 81 West deposit and the new Golden Eagle South deposit.
Production for the quarter is expected to be 18,000 to 20,000 ounces of gold.
“Our strong production result for the December quarter reflects a huge effort by the entire team at Nullagine, and it’s important to note that the slight shortfall in ounces compared to our guidance is expected to be more than made up in the March 2018 quarter,” Millennium Minerals chief executive Peter Cash said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The company’s strong production profile in a rising gold market environment, underpinned by a debt-free balance sheet, gives us a unique opportunity to continue to invest strongly in the Company’s next chapter of growth.
“In that regard, completion of an upgraded Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve for Bartons Underground provides a very strong platform for us to move ahead rapidly with the development of our first new underground gold mine at Nullagine.”
Cash explained the free-milling ore from Bartons Underground will be processed through the existing CIL plant at Nullagine, which will form an important part of our production profile from the second half of this year onwards.
“At the same time, we are continuing to invest strongly in exploration to continue to grow our Resource and Reserve inventory,” he continued.
“Our exploration team has been incredibly successful in turning exploration concepts and prospects into new discoveries – most recently at Au81 West and Redbeard.
“Redbeard in particular is shaping up as a very exciting discovery for Millennium, having returned some of the thickest and highest-grade intercepts we have ever seen at Nullagine.
“A maiden Mineral Resource estimate for Redbeard is currently in progress and should be announced later this month.
“With our rigs back in the field from 4 January across multiple areas, we are continuing our strong commitment to growth through exploration and shareholders can now look forward to strong and consistent news flow on several fronts – exploration, development and, ultimately, the expansion of the operation as we complete the various studies designed to support a significant upgrade of the Nullagine processing plant later this year.”