(Sharecast News) - Resource exploration and development company Empire Metals said on Tuesday that the next phase of work at its Eclipse Gold Project, 55 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, had started.
The AIM-traded firm said the fully-funded drill programme was focussed on two main objectives, with the first being resource drilling at the Eclipse Mine target.
There, 200 metres of diamond drilling in three holes would duplicate selected recent reverse circulation drill holes for resource estimation purposes, to enable initial geotechnical core logging as input to a preliminary pit design, and to provide samples for metallurgical testing.
The second main objective was expansion drilling at the new Jack's Dream discovery, where 1,700 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 17 holes would take place.
That would primarily be focussed on infill drilling adjacent to wide intersections of mineralisation and high-grade intercepts around the Jack's Dream workings, north-west of the Eclipse shaft, to further expand the mineralisation and potential resources.
An initial non-compliant resource has been prepared for the Eclipse shaft area, based on a cut-off grade of 1.3 grams of gold per tonne and a minimum downhole length of two metres, being 92,913 tonnes at 2.25 grams of gold per tonne, making for 6,706 ounces of gold.
The data was top-cut at 22 grams of gold per tonne.
Empire said the current diamond drilling and other works would enable an updated resource estimate to be prepared, compliant with JORC 2012.
"This next phase of drilling around the Jack's Dream old workings will be especially interesting to see if we can extend the wide near-surface mineralised intercepts we reported previously," said director Mike Struthers.
"There is potential for this to become a satellite to the Eclipse Mine target, expanding the resources and open pit mining opportunity.
"Meanwhile our work on resources, pit optimisations and related studies at the Eclipse Mine target continues."
Struthers said initial assessments indicated an open pit operation at Eclipse would fall within the small-scale mining legislation in Western Australia, which would provide a "fast-track route" to production while minimising the environmental footprint, although further technical data was required to confirm certain design assumptions.
"The trial mining route, utilising toll treatment, would provide invaluable metallurgical and operational data."
At 1454 BST, shares in Empire Metals were down 8% at 2.3p.
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