LionGold Corp’s subsidiary Castlemaine Goldfields has announced an updated JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate at its Ballarat Gold Mine in the Australian state of Victoria based on ongoing diamond drilling and a review of the geological controls to gold mineralization. The updated inferred resource totals 411,000 tonnes at a grade of 8.5 grams/tonne for 112,200 ounces of contained gold when reported at a zero cut-off grade.
The previously released Ballarat estimate was 263,000 tonnes @ 8.5 grams/tonne for 71,700 ounces reported in July 2012. This update represents an increase of 55% in gold ounces despite ongoing mining since July 2012.
“We are very happy with our updated Ballarat resource estimate,” says LionGold Group’s chief operating officer Matthew Gill. “We have been able to replace the ounces mined to date through our ongoing and successful exploration program, and this new resource underpins ongoing confidence in gold production from Ballarat. We have an aggressive diamond drilling program at the mine which should support mining into the future. We are also focused on regional exploration for near-term resource definition.”
LionGold acquired a 100% stake in then ASX-listed Castlemaine Goldfields in September 2012. The company has five significant tenements (including the Ballarat Gold Mine) in Australia’s historic Central Victoria gold belt. The Ballarat Gold Mine has an annual production target of 40-50,000 ounces of gold.
Since LionGold’s acquisition the Ballarat mine has produced approximately 200,000 tonnes @ 7.8 grams/tonne for 51,000 ounces. During the September quarter the mine produced a record 13,845 ounces at an operating cash cost of $666 per ounce, and an all-in cash cost of Aus$1055 per ounce.
Diamond drilling is ongoing to test new targets, as well as in-fill drilling for mine planning. There are currently three diamond drill rigs operating underground at Ballarat which collectively yield about 3300 metres of drill core each month.
In addition to the Ballarat resource, Castlemaine has a combined inferred resource of 686,000 ounces (2.7 million tonnes @ 7.9 grams/tonne) at its Castlemaine Gold Project, comprising the Chewton and Wattle Gully resources, 8km north-east of Ballarat.
Given the Ballarat mine’s strategic location within the central Victorian gold belt, and with a gold processing facility with spare capacity, Castlemaine is also completing a diamond drilling program at its Tarnagulla project 110km north of Ballarat and where historical past production has yielded more than 700,000 ounces, including the famous Poverty Reef which yielded grades of 92 grams/tonne.
Approximately 1200 metres of drilling is being undertaken at the Mother Chisholm prospect with the aim of defining a mineral resource to support open pit mining, the ore from which would be processed at the Ballarat facility. The drilling was due to be completed by the end of December with full results and interpretation expected in the next few months.