Lion One Metals has sampled the first 24 of 91 core drill holes at its Tuvatu gold project on the Fijian island of Viti Levu.

The holes are part of the company’s program of assaying extensive intervals of the 60,000 metres of drilling that were not previously sampled at the project’s Marau area. Lion One plans to transform the historic high grade epithermal model into a significantly larger bulk mineable target.

Tuvatu lies within the Viti Levu Lineament, a northwest trending belt that hosts a number of alkaline volcanic centres, including the world-class Vatukoula gold mine about 50km to the northeast.

Lion One has identified five bulk development areas within Tuvatu for incremental resource expansion. The Murau area will be the first to have a resource estimate completed as it has the widest distribution and highest number and density of drill holes. It’s also located immediately to the south of the known porphyry mineralization zone.

142 drill holes were carried out in the area during the late 1990s by Emperor Gold Mines, when the project area had an indicated resource of 760,000 tonnes averaging 7.05 grams/tonne gold. Lion One will use these historical assay results, along with the pending drill results to increase the average grades and continuity of ore grade. Trenching in November exposed a wide interval of co-existing porphyry and epithermal gold mineralization averaging 3.96 grams/tonne gold over 71 metres.

Lion Metals chairman Walter H Berukoff says, “We are advancing Tuvatu's transition into a large bulk tonnage target and are encouraged by the latest exploration results, which continue to broaden the horizontal and vertical extent and continuity of gold mineralization in the Tuvatu system."

There have been 58km of an induced polarization (IP) survey have also been completed to obtain further depth readings and 36km of soil sampling across the survey grid area have also been carried out.

Metallurgical studies and resource calculations are expected to start in the first quarter of 2012, with approved expenditure of $4.2 million for the program, including $1 million for new drilling.

"We now have sufficient confidence in the Tuvatu exploration database to justify commencing a work flow designed to build the resource base in rapid increments," said Walter H Berukoff.

"We have the rare opportunity to advance a project that shows evidence of being a large porphyry and disseminated epithermal gold system and to leverage upon the significant amounts of risk capital previously invested in an era at much lower gold prices."

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