Saracen Mineral Holdings has significantly increased its planned exploration and drilling expenditure to accelerate an ongoing push towards becoming a 400,000 ounce a year gold producer.
The company has budgeted $60 million for exploration across its Western Australian operations in the 2019 financial year as part of the growth strategy.
Saracen will divide the $60 million between the Carosue Dam corridor ($11 million), the Karari and Whirling Dervish deposits ($20 million) within Carosue Dam, and the Thunderbox project ($16 million). The remaining amount ($13 million) will be allocated for other exploration activities.
The company said in a statement that it had already invested $38 million in exploration by the end of the company’s record-breaking March 2019 quarter.
The news follows the release of company drill results, which included “extensive mineralisation” outside of Saracen’s existing resources, according to managing director Raleigh Finlayson.
This includes the emerging Atbara gold discovery, which was found along with a second discovery, Qena, about four kilometres north of the Carosue Dam mill in November 2018. The company has since merged Qena with Atbara to form a single discovery of the same name with a strike length of 650 metres.
“Our aim is to grow production to 400,000 [ounces] a year while maintaining long mine lives and these outstanding results show we are on track to achieve that goal,” Finlayson said.
Some of the strongest finds from this drilling round included 27 metres at 8.1 grams of gold a tonne at Karari; 37 metres at 3.5 grams a tonne at Whirling Dervish; 44 metres at two grams a tonne at Thunderbox A Zone; and 43 metres at 3.7 grams a tonne at the Thunderbox D Zone.
The company has also embarked on a 3D seismic survey of Carosue Dam, which it expects to complete in the September 2019 quarter.