Technical reports can be confusing and time consuming to go through, so in an attempt to break down the Technical report, we took the time to pull the most relevant information needed to understand the mineralization at Beta Hunt and the overall potential of this project.
This breakdown is focused on gold mineralization and the nickel mining potential. The full report contains more detailed information that should be reviewed before making any investment decisions. For the full release please visit…
*The following information has been pulled directly from the report and condensed to for your convenience.
-1.35 million ounces of gold, Measured and inferred resource.
-FDV updated to 28,500 ounces recovered from the immediate area.
-Significant number of nickel and gold occurrences have been intersected outside the current resources. These include both occurrences along the immediate trends of current resources and along poorly explored parallel trends.
-Expected gold recovery from the HGO Mill from the Beta Hunt mineralization will continue to be in the 90-95% range, depending on ore grade.
-The 390% increase in Measured and Indicated Gold Mineral Resource for the Western Flanks to 710k oz as a result of the recently completed drilling campaign (RNC News release: 2 July, 2019) flags this resource as a major mineralised system with the capacity to grow further.
-A key feature of Beta Hunt is the separate but adjacent nickel and gold deposits and associated ability to modulate production in response to market conditions. Accordingly, and given current market turbulence, short-term plans should include sufficient flexibility to allow prioritization of whichever metal that allows free cash flow to be maximized at the time.
-Gold mineralization occurs in wide and steeply dipping shear-vein system that are amenable to mechanized methods. Production is ramping up to a target of 1,750 t/d that is expected to be reached by the end of 2019.
-The exploration potential of Beta Hunt is significant as a number of nickel and gold occurrences have been intersected outside the current resources. These include occurrences both along the immediate trends of current resources and along poorly explored parallel trends
-First ore from stage I is expected in early August, 2019. Grade-control drilling is under way with results to date similar or better than what has been previously modelled as part of the optimization study. Work is also progressing on Baloo stage 2 with plans being prepared to submit to the local mining authorities
Operations and development
SLM has been mining gold at Beta Hunt continuously since Q4 2015. Gold is primarily mined by longhole stoping while nickel is mined by air leg slot stoping.
In November 2018, RNC temporarily ramped-down bulk production of gold at Beta Hunt in order to provide drill rig access to drill-out the main shear zone hosted resources and complete an updated gold resource estimate while continuing to develop access to the resource.
Late in the first quarter of 2019, RNC announced the drilling program had sufficiently advanced to allow for commencement of a limited restart of bulk mining for gold in areas with mine development already in place. The timing for a full ramp-up decision will be based on completion of an updated mine plan based on this resource update and is expected by the end of the third quarter of 2019.
SLM has also restarted mining of remnant nickel resources on a small scale at Beta Hunt.
There is limited requirement for site infrastructure as processing of both gold and nickel mineralization is conducted off-site. Gold mineralization is processed at RNC’s 1.3 Mtpa Higginsville Gold Operation located 80 km by road to the south of Beta Hunt Mine. Nickel mineralization processing is bound by the terms of the Ore Tolling and Concentrate Purchase Agreement(OTCPA) with BHP Billiton Nickel West Pty Ltd (BHP).
The contracted delivery point for nickel ore (Kambalda Nickel Concentrator) is under care and maintenance requiring amendments to the OTCPA to process Beta Hunt ore. The most recent tolling amendment with BHP expired in June, 2019. Under this amendment, Beta Hunt ore was processed at their Leinster mill. A new amendment is required to process future ore production under the OTCPA.
The Beta Hunt mine is located 2 km south of the town centre of Kambalda East at the northern end of the Lake Lefroy Causeway. Kambalda is readily accessible from Kalgoorlie-Boulder along the sealed Goldfields Highway (60 km) and from Perth along the sealed Great Eastern Highway (630 km).
Figure 5.1 shows the road connecting the Beta Hunt mine site to the BHP Kambalda nickel concentrator to the north (5 km)this same road provides trucking access to the Goldfields Highway and the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway leading to the Higginsville Mill.
Mine Access–Oblique Aerial View
Gold mineralisation is focused on the Kambalda Anticline and controlled by northwest trending,steep, west dipping shear zones associated with re-activated normal faults that previously controlled the komatiitic channel flow and associated nickel sulphide deposition.Gold mineralisation is interpreted as a D3 extensional event associated with porphyry intrusives –the source of magmatic hydrothermal fluids carrying the gold.
Mineralisation is hosted predominantly in Lunnon Basalt (below the ultramafic contact) with minor amounts associated with specific porphyry intrusives. Not all porphyries are mineralised – some are intruded post-mineralisation. The basalt (and porphyries) are preferred mineralisation hosts as a result of their susceptibility to hydraulic fracturing to form quartz veining, with the migrating ore fluids causing wall-rock alteration. The migrating ore fluids associated with the shearing are interpreted to pass through the overlying ultramafic (because of its ductile nature), developing as mineralisation only where the shear zone passes through more competent rock, e.g, porphyry and basalt.
Gold mineralization occurs in three broad, steeply dipping, north-northwest striking quartz vein systems within biotite-albite-pyrite altered shear zones hosted by the Lunnon Basalt. Veining is dominated by shear parallel and extensional vein styles.
A Zone and the Western Flanks both occur to the north of a major north-northeast trending structure (Alpha Island Fault) and are represented by Beta mineralization to the south of the fault.
The Fletcher Shear Zone was discovered by drilling in 2016 and is the third mineralised gold zone at Beta Hunt.
East Alpha is inferred by analogy to the known mineralised quartz vein systems, however further drill testing is required to confirm its existence. Coarse, specimen quality occurrences of gold can occasionally be found where the mineralised shears intersect the interflow sediment horizon and the overlying nickel-bearing basalt/ultramafic contact.
The following table is the updated resource table as of August 12, 2019.
Plan view of gold resources and interpreted gold shear zone targets
Gold resources (orange) in plan view –A Zone & Western Flanks
Beta Hunt Gold Mineral resource location
Coarse, Specimen Gold
Mining by SLM has intersected and recovered significant coarse, specimengrade gold ore (>1% Au) associated with the basalt/ultramafic contact and, more recently with an interflow sediment within the Lunnon Basalt where it intersects the A Zone shear.
This style of mineralisation is intermittently found associated with the A Zone, Western Flanks and Beta ore zones –where the mineralised shears intersect iron sulphide-rich contacts represented by the main basalt/ultramafic contact and pyritic interflow sediment (A Zone).
In September, 2018, RNC intersected the single largest occurrence of this style of mineralisation, known as the Father’s Day Vein discovery. An estimated 25,000 ozof gold was recovered from a single 60 m3ore development drive cut on the 15L in A Zone Q3 2018. Since recommencement of mining an estimated 28,500 oz has been recovered from this style of mineralisation.
Spectacular coarse specimen gold was mined from Beta Hunt in the past, at the top of the A Zone orebody near the basalt-ultramafic contact. Historical records show 3,295 oz gold was mined from specimen stone by WMC which represents 11.4% of total gold mined by WMC.
Records from this Preliminary Economic Assessment indicate an average grade of 20,000 g/t (2%, 643 oz/t) Au for the specimen stone.(WMC 1985).
Father’s Day Vein –15L, A Zone. Note association with pyritic interflow sediment
Gold mineralization in A Zone is located below the A Zone nickel surface and is composed of a large brecciated quartz vein that has a near vertical dip striking at 320°. A Zone varies in thickness from 2 -20m wide with a low to medium grade distribution. The A Zone shear is mineralized over approximately 1.5 km of strike length with the northern portion containing the higher grade and greater thickness. Sub-parallel mineralized structures are found in both the hangingwalland footwall to the main A Zone shear.
These structures appear to be of a similar nature to the main mineralized zone and are considered to be splays within a major anastomosing shear system.
The A Zone resource remains open along strike to the north and down dip. The recently completed drilling program continues to show economic grade drill intersections on the resource margins.
A Zone long section
Gold A Zone block model in crosssection coloured by gold grade. Looking North. Drill assays grater than 3 Au g/t displayed with broad trace
A Zone Gold Mineralization. Assays over 3 g/t displayed with broad drill trace.
The Western Flanks mineralisation is different to the A Zone mineralisation, there is a significant volume of mineralisation that occurs in the hangingwall of the “shear-hosted” mineralisation. That is, there are additional controls on mineralisation beyond a dominant A Zone-style shear hosted mineralisation.
The dominant Western Flanks shear hosted mineralisation is now interpreted to be juxtaposed with vein-hosted mineralisation, dominantly in the basalt hanging wall to the Western Flanks shear zone. The majority of vein-hosted mineralisation appears to be northeast dipping. The study noted that defining consistent boundaries of coherent and continuous mineralisation as separate domains would be problematic with mineralisation a function of both relatively high grade veins and general vein density.
The 390% increase in Measured and Indicated Gold Mineral Resource for the Western Flanks to 710k oz as a result of the recently completed drilling campaign (RNC News release: 2 July, 2019) flags this resource as a major mineralised system with the capacity to grow further.
The Western Flanks structure remains open to the north and at depth with good grade and thicknesses of mineralization at the margins of the resource including the deepest and northernmost hole from the recently completed campaign (WFN-083) that yielded 6.3 g/t over 13.9 metres (estimated true width). In addition to the northern strike potential, down dip drill intersections also highlight the potential of this mineralised system to continue at depth.
Some of these intersections (est. true width)are listed below:
▪WFN-049 –3.04 g/t over 16.42 m (including 17.8 g/t over 0.93)and 2.5 g/t over 16.42 m (including 3.6 g/t over 5.74 m and 6.7 g/t over 2.54 m);
▪WFN-015 –4.5 g/t over 23.75 m (including 13.8 g/t over 2.23 m and 10.4 g/t over 3.35 m) and 7.4 g/t over 5.95 m (including 42.3 g/t over 0.79 m);
▪WFS-010A –5.92 g/t over 8.50 m (including 12.23 g/t over 2.32 m
Western Flanks Shear Zone highlighting significant intersections on the margins of the resource. Longsection looking east.
Cross section of mineralisation synthesis at Western Flanks
Western Flank long section looking northeast –potential ore shoot geometry
Mineralisation styles A Zone compared to Western Flanks
Variogram model used to estimate domain 8 indicator variable
Beta North The Fletcher Shear Zone is a parallel structural analogue to the Western Flanks and A Zone gold deposits occurring approximately 500m west of the Western Flanks vein system. The Fletcher Shear Zone is interpreted to represent the offset continuation of the Beta nickel and gold mineralisation across the Alpha Island Fault.
The Fletcher Shear Zone was successfully targeted by a Government Co-Funded Drill Hole in 2016 and intersected two distinct lodes containing over 24m of gold mineralization in excess of 2g/t.
Lode A returned results of 8.9m of 2.67g/t from 716.6m including: 3.1m @ 3.1g/t from 716.6m, including 1.0m @ 6.5g/t from 718.0m; and 4.4m @ 3.1g/t from 722.4m
Lode B returned results of 15.8m of 2.32g/t from 736.5m including 6.8m @ 3.8g/t from 739.1m, including 1.1m of 7.4g/t from 744.8 m
The Beta mineralization is interpreted to be an offset extension to the Western Flanks and A Zone mineralization, with a dextral offset of between 100-150m. Beta is again characterized by a series of sub vertical quartz veins within a sheared basalt. Mineralization at Beta has a more disjointed and erratic form, with narrow discontinuous lodes that have a strike extent of 20-100m. Lodes vary in thickness from 1-5m wide commonly with high grades being present on the contacts of porphyries and ultramafic.
Beta mineralisation describes the less continuous, ultramafic/basalt contact related gold mineralisation intersected in drill holes south of the Alpha Island Fault. Nearly all holes drilled in this part of the mine were targetedto intersect nickel mineralisation on the contact. Despite the focus on nickel,numerous very high gold grades were recorded close to the basal contact, including those listed below:
•BE19-451: 13.0m grading 8.0 g/t Au
•BE19-292: 15.0m grading 114 g/t Au, including 0.07m grading 23,000 g/t Au (2.3% Au) close to the basal contact
These high-grade intersections are characteristically associated with narrow,gold-rich veins/veinlets concentrated along the ultramafic/basalt contact at the intersection with gold mineralised structures. An example of this type of mineralisation was found in April 2016(RNC News Release:21 April, 2016), when an estimated 127ozs of coarse, specimen quality gold was recovered from a development cut known as the “HOF”.
Historically the Beta area has only been drill tested for nickel mineralization with gold assays a secondary consideration when part of the historically nickel-only production operation. The area has yet to be directly targeted for gold with the down dip potential remaining untested. It is interpreted that the Beta area hosts the offset continuation of the A Zone, Western Flanks and Fletcher shear
Offset relationship of deposits across Alpha Island Fault (gold intersections > 1g/t Au)
This target represents the interpreted mineralised shear zone directly below the East Alpha nickel trough on the east side of the Kambalda Dome. The location of the Redoubtable open-pit directly above the nickel trough supported by anomalous gold assays from holes testing for nickel mineralisation in the trough provide evidence of gold mineralisation analogous to the steep, mineralised structures as at Western Flanks and A Zone.
Oblique view of basalt geology model looking northwest (East Alpha highlights)
The exploration potential of Beta Hunt is significant as a number of nickel and gold occurrences have been intersected outside the current resources. These include occurrences both along the immediate trends of current resources and along poorly explored parallel trends.
Nickel Exploration Potential
Significant potential exists for the discovery of additional nickel deposits at Beta Hunt along trend from known nickel shoots and in parallel structures north of the Alpha Island Fault. Potential also exists down plunge to the south of the Alpha and Beta deposits as indicated by results from widely spaced drilling.
Since the release of the 2016 PEA, there has been no drilling activity dedicated to upgrading or growing the existing nickel resource. All drilling has been entirely focussed on gold mineralisation. Given this situation, the nickel targets previously described in the 2016 PEA continue to remain relevant for future exploration.
There is an immense amount of information in the 43-101 but these are the basics of the geology behind the Beta Hunt mine. I hope this helps you in learning about the project in a more concise manner and cuts down the amount of time you have to spend doing your due diligence.
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Disclosure: @Mikeymike426 holds a long position in RNX
Disclosure: This article was not sponsored or a paid service and are the views of the authors. This article may contain forward looking statements and should not be considered investing advice as we are not financial advisors. We recommend seeking out professional assistance prior to making any investing decisions and as always do your own due diligence.