Novo Provides Update on Production Ramp-Up at Beatons Creek Gold Project
Not for Distribution to United States Newswire Services or for dissemination in the United States
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Novo Resources Corp. (“Novo” or the “Company”) (TSX: NVO & NVO.WT; OTCQX: NSRPF) is pleased to provide an update of the ramp-up of operations at the Beatons Creek conglomerate gold project in Western Australia (“Beatons Creek”).
- Commissioning and ramp up have progressed safely (no lost time injuries recorded to date) and within expectations amid a favourable gold price environment (Australian gold price currently above A$2,275 per oz)
- Since commencement of processing operations on February 3, 2021 and pouring of Novo’s first gold bar on February 16, 2021, a total of 7,375 fine oz Au and 1,158 fine oz Ag have been sold to date
- Processing facility (the “Golden Eagle Mill”) operating at 1.5 Mt per annum throughput, as expected, with demonstrated higher capacity
- Mining and haulage operations are progressing within expectations
- In line with broader industry experience, significant delays have been experienced in third party assay turnaround with only around half of all grade control sample results returned to date. Novo geologists have compensated for these delays by successfully visually identifying mineralisation bands to guide selective mining operations
- Mining and geological processes are continually being refined to optimize mining and processing operations and to minimize mineralization loss and dilution
“Novo is delighted to have assembled a high calibre team in such a short timeframe and in a buoyant commodity market,” commented Rob Humphryson, CEO and a director of Novo. “Considerable progress has been made to date and we continue to generate positive momentum as we ramp up production at Beatons Creek to steady state.”
Details and Outlook
- Since pouring first gold on February 16, 2021, 29 further gold bars have been poured for a total of 7,375 fine troy oz Au, with gold production steadily increasing in line with the Company’s ramp-up schedule.
- Throughput at the Golden Eagle Mill has been steadily increasing to an annualized production rate of approximately 1.5 Mt per annum as mill operating parameters are optimized. Novo plans to further increase throughput at the Golden Eagle Mill, noting that the Golden Eagle Mill has been test run successfully at instantaneous rates up to 2Mt per annum (Figure 1).
Figure 1 is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2d432560-124f-44d0-b456-402306f94d28
- Recoveries at the Golden Eagle Mill have varied between 87-98% since start-up. As steady state throughput is expected to be reached over the coming months, recoveries are expected to stabilize in the mid 90% range. The proportion of gold recovered by the gravity circuit is typically above 50%, in line with metallurgical test work for Beatons Creek.
- Scheduling requirements associated with grade control trial areas and the establishment of waste landform locations necessitated commencement of mining in a lower grade area in the distal NW portion of Beatons Creek, with grade scheduled to increase as new areas of the resource are exposed.
- Head grade at the Golden Eagle Mill has ranged from 0.6-3.5 gpt Au since start up, indicative of the nuggety nature of the Beatons Creek mineralization.
- Since start-up, drill and blast techniques have been introduced to allow for effective loading and selective mining. Mining techniques will continue to be refined and adapted in response to the geometry and hardness of the mineralized horizons, to increase productivity and optimize operating costs (Figure 2 and Figure 3).
Figure 2 is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c1fbea12-b8e4-4883-adde-bf6a53a607e8
Figure 3 is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/e5b1a600-21b5-48f7-9ef1-dc372662a978
- Grade control and resource upgrade reverse circulation drilling at 20 x 20m spacing continues throughout the entire deposit. The initial focus is on mine scheduling priorities, and also to achieve a higher level of confidence in the resource at Beatons Creek. Infill grade control at 10 x 10m spacing will be undertaken in more geologically complex areas where more detail is required.
- Whilst the PhotonAssay technique has proved ideally suited for the Beatons Creek grade control regime, significant delays have been experienced in third party assay turnaround with only around half of all grade control sample results returned to date. Novo geologists have compensated for these delays by continuing to develop visual techniques to guide selective mining operations. An example of the result of detailed bench and face mapping work being undertaken by the Novo team is evident in Figure 4, which illustrates mark-up of four conglomerate beds in preparation for mining.
Figure 4 is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f5d79a3c-79d7-42b6-bdd5-f8c6cd8cb87e
- Novo is pleased to note that Chrysos Corporation will soon be deploying additional PhotonAssay units into Western Australia, increasing the number of available machines (currently three units) to five units before the end of June. Novo expects to leverage this increased capacity to significantly improve assay turnaround times. Novo has utilized PhotonAssay technology extensively throughout its Pilbara projects.
- Novo is currently establishing an internal sample preparation facility on site at the Golden Eagle Mill, producing samples for distribution to the increased capacity of photon assay facilities.
“Our team has rapidly developed visual grade control protocols to guide mining in the absence of full grade control assay results,” commented Quinton Hennigh, Chairman and President of Novo. “We are aggressively tackling the need to speed up assay returns by establishing our own sample preparation facility at site and leveraging the planned ramp up of photon assay capability in Western Australia by Chrysos Corporation. This will be critical as Novo moves to complete a 20 x 20 grade control and resource upgrade drill campaign across Beatons Creek over the coming months. Meanwhile, protocols for mining this unique type of mineralization are rapidly being refined to maximize mining rates and minimize dilution. We see ability to eventually operate the Golden Eagle Mill at a run rate of 1.9-2.0 Mt per annum, well above the anticipated run rate of 1.6 Mt per annum. The team is diligently working towards steady state operations over the coming months.”
On April 14, 2021, the Company announced a C$22 million brokered private placement (the “Financing”), the net proceeds of which will be used, generally, to fund new exploration efforts in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, continue ramping up operations at Beatons Creek, the planned infill drilling campaign and the increased photon assay capacity in Western Australia, and for general corporate working capital purposes. The Company also plans to initiate expansive exploration programs in the East Pilbara region, particularly in the Nullagine area, to continue expanding Beatons Creek’s footprint and identify targets with potential to become near-to-medium term mill feed. The Company also plans to deploy the Steinert KSS 100F LIXT fine mechanical sorting unit to the Pilbara in Q2 2021.
The decision by the Company to produce at Beatons Creek was not based on a feasibility study of mineral reserves demonstrating economic and technical viability and, as a result, there is an increased uncertainty of achieving any particular level of recovery of minerals or the cost of such recovery, including increased risks associated with developing a commercially mineable deposit. Historically, such projects have a much higher risk of economic and technical failure. There is no guarantee that that anticipated production costs will be achieved. Failure to achieve the anticipated production costs would have a material adverse impact on the Company’s cash flow and future profitability.
Dr. Quinton Hennigh (P.Geo.) is the qualified person pursuant to NI 43-101 responsible for, and having reviewed and approved, the technical information contained in this news release. Dr. Hennigh is President, Chairman, and a director of Novo.
About Novo Resources Corp.
Novo is commissioning its flagship Beatons Creek gold project while exploring and developing its highly prospective land package covering approximately 14,000 square kilometres in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. In addition to the Company’s primary focus, Novo seeks to leverage its internal geological expertise to deliver value-accretive opportunities to its shareholders. For more information, please contact Leo Karabelas at (416) 543-3120 or e-mail [email protected]
On Behalf of the Board of Directors,
Novo Resources Corp.
President and Chairman
Some statements in this news release contain forward-looking information (within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation). These include statements (the “forward-looking statements”) regarding Novo’s intent, or the beliefs or current expectations of Novo’s management. When used in this news release, words such as “will”, “would”, “expect”, “target”, “potential”, “objective”, “subject to”, “expected to” and similar words or expressions identify these forward-looking statements as well as phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “should”, “occur” or “be achieved” or the negative connotation of such terms. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, without limitation, the ability to run the Golden Eagle Mill at up to 2.0 Mt per annum, the expected stabilization in the coming weeks of recovery rates around the mid 90% range, the ability to expedite sample preparation and laboratory throughput for its grade control drilling samples based on an increase in photon assay unit availability in Western Australia, the ability to achieve a higher level of confidence in the resource at Beatons Creek by utilizing 20 x 20 m grade control drilling, and the expected completion of the Financing and planned use of net proceeds of the Financing. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and, as such, involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, receipt of Toronto Stock Exchange approval to the Financing, the risk factors identified in Novo’s annual information form for the 11-month financial year ended December 31, 2020 and Novo’s management’s discussion and analysis for the same period, both of which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date those statements are made. Except as required by applicable law, Novo assumes no obligation to update or to publicly announce the results of any change to any forward-looking statement contained or incorporated by reference herein to reflect actual results, future events or developments, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting the forward-looking statements. If Novo updates any forward-looking statement(s), no inference should be drawn that the Company will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.
The securities described in this news release have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act“), or any U.S. state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States without registration under the 1933 Act and all applicable state securities laws or compliance with the requirements of an applicable exemption therefrom. This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities in the United States, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.