Gold producer Focus Minerals (ASX: FML) is pleased to advise that drilling to establish a sustainable production base for upcoming open pit mining at its Coolgardie Gold Operations in Western Australia has delivered a series of outstanding high-grade gold intersections from the Happy Jack deposit, adjacent to its flagship Tindals Mining Centre.
The ongoing 20-hole surface drilling program at Happy Jack, which is intended to validate historical drilling and test for high-grade ore potential, has delivered excellent intersections from the first 12 holes (refer Table 1), including :
- 8m @ 55.6g/t Au from 114m (with visible Au)
- 2m @ 20.7g/t Au from 29 metres
- 4m @ 7.0g/t Au from 75 metres, and
- 2m @ 5.3g/t Au from 88 metres.
Happy Jack is one of several potential open pit projects located near the Tindals Mining Centre, from where the bulk of ore is presently sourced from
underground for Focus’ Coolgardie Gold Operations.
The Company plans to commence open pit production in early 2011, supplementing underground ore sourced from Tindals and the new mining centre at The Mount, located to the south-east of the Three Mile Hill treatment facility.
As part of this process, a targeted RC drilling program has been underway testing along the recently defined Happy Jack deposit trend.
Recent exploration drilling at the Big Blow project, located immediately west of Happy Jack, in conjunction with recent QA-QC work, has identified not just the larger-than-expected extent of the Happy Jack trend (+600 metres) but also historical high-grade drilling intercepts that provide indications of high-grade trends (see Figure 1).
Historical intercepts from 1994 drilling include 2m @ 22.6g/t from 51m and 3m @ 31.1g/t from 53m.
The identification of these higher grade trends assisted with the targeting of holes such as TNDC0316 down-plunge to test the extent of the high-grade zone and the resulting intersection of 8m @ 55.6g/t from 114m is a very pleasing outcome.
The results to date of the other drill holes are also pleasing as the grade has been uniformly higher than expected (Table 1).
The Happy Jack deposit trend lies just to the east of the current Big Blow deposit, which currently has a planned open pit reserve of 63,000t @ 2.2g/t for 4,500 ounces (see Figure 2) out of a total current open pit reserve at the Tindals Mining Centre of 390,000t @ 2.1g/t for 26,400 ounces (refer Appendix 1).
The recent drilling has been undertaken at Happy Jack with a view to testing whether it is appropriate to accelerate its position within the development schedule for evaluation for potential open pit mining.
The encouraging results received to date indicate the potential for Happy Jack to contribute to further additions to the Tindals Mining Centre Open Pit reserve base. Happy Jack currently contains a small Inferred Resource of 198,000t @ 1.7g/t Au for 10,900 contained ounces (refer Appendix 2).
The Happy Jack deposit remains open along strike to the north and south, with wide-spaced RC drilling completed in the March 2010 Quarter identifying a 600m strike length.
Following the receipt of assays from the other eight holes, technical analysis of the recent drilling will guide future resource upgrades and follow-up drilling programs.
Focus Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Baird, said:
“We have been very active on the exploration front in recent months at Coolgardie – both underground and targeting open pit potential. As well as successfully targeting high-grade Perseverance-style underground deposits via EM, we have also been following up on historical drilling results that appeared to point to unexploited opportunities.
“This drilling at Happy Jack represents one such an opportunity. I am very pleased with this result as it extends significantly on a recently identified high-grade zone and demonstrates great potential for the Happy Jack area to contribute to future open pit production at Coolgardie commencing early next year.”