SPECTACULAR drill results in March, including 3390 grams per tonne of gold, will be used by Northern Star Resources to further underpin a maiden resource for the Voyager 2 lode at its Paulsens underground gold mine in WA.
The latest results will be combined with those of preceding drill campaigns, including 0.8m at 12178g/t of gold – believed to be one of the highest grades ever recorded in Australia – to generate a maiden resource figure for Voyager by mid-2012.
Voyager 2 is the next ore target position down plunge of – and beneath – the Voyager 1 lode, with an exploration target of 100,000 to 250,000 ounces. Northern Star managing director Bill Beament said that the outstanding results confirmed the company’s view that Voyager 2 would be a significant resource at Paulsens in the years ahead.
“Part of the [February 2012] $45 million [capital] raising has been earmarked for rapid capital development to mine the Voyager 2 lode ahead of schedule, and for installing a gravity circuit due to the very high grades,” he said.
In addition, impressive results at the Voyager 1 lode, such as 5.2m at 108.6g/t gold – including 0.54m at 1016g/t – have highlighted the potential for its resource grade to improve even further than the current 10.5g/t. With only 130,000oz mined out of Voyager 1 to date, and extensional and grade control drilling ongoing, Northern Star believes this lode will be a production mainstay for a number of years.
These latest results at Voyager 1 and 2 have been excluded from a recent 41 per cent resource upgrade at Paulsens to 318,000oz, as the company outlines plans to increase annual production from 80,000 to 100,000oz. Further assays for both Voyager 1 and 2 are pending. Meanwhile, Northern Star has used a portion of its recent capital raising to accelerate drilling, metallurgical test work and economic studies at the neighbouring Ashburton project, with a view to establishing a standalone 100,000ozpa operation. Northern Star purchased the Paulsens gold mine and 365 square kilometre tenement package from Intrepid Mines in July 2010.
By Reuben Adams