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First Ore Mined at Selkirk & Pre-Feasibility Study Update
Brightstar Resources Limited (ASX: BTR) (Brightstar) is pleased to announce that the first ore has been mined at Selkirk, with end of month (EOM) physical reporting from October 2023 indicating a second consecutive month of high productivity and above-budget material movement from Brightstar’s joint venture partner, BML Ventures Pty Ltd (BML Ventures).
- Mining operations are progressing ahead of schedule at the Selkirk Deposit within the Menzies Gold Project, with second consecutive month of +10% production above agreed budget achieved in October boding well for project economics
- ~1,500t @ 3.01g/t Au ore from hangingwall lode outside of the mine plan has been mined and stockpiled on Selkirk ROM Pad
- Haulage of ore to Genesis Minerals’ Gwalia Processing Plant scheduled for February 2024 with 50% Project Cashflow to be generated and distributed to Brightstar in Q1 2024
- Additional resources within the Brightstar portfolio actively being investigated for future potential “Selkirk 2.0” early mining operations
- Key consultants appointed for Pre-Feasibility Study with works commenced on critical path items
Encouragingly, the mined hangingwall lode, which is within the resource model but not within the mine plan budget targeting +5.0g/t Au mineralisation, was delineated and mined during October. Approximately 1,500t of this material, grading over 3.0g/t Au, will be added to the known +5.0g/t material contained within the high grade main lode and trucked to Gwalia for processing into Brightstar’s maiden gold pour in Q1 2024.
Brightstar’s Managing Director, Alex Rovira, commented “We are pleased to see the continued strong progress made by BML at Selkirk, who are currently ahead of the mine schedule. Pleasingly, the hangingwall lode has been successfully mined and stockpiled on the ROM pad, representing upside to the budgeted outcome for the joint venture.
Positively, the project is budgeted on a gold price of A$2,850 per ounce, compared to the current spot price of A$3,050 per ounce which presents upside in the forecast economics for the joint venture.
As the mining campaign at Selkirk advances, we continue to assess further opportunities at Menzies for potential near-term and low risk exploitation. These opportunities are targeted to deliver organic funding that will provide working capital for the continued exploration across the Brightstar portfolio and the PFS underway.”
Mining at Selkirk is progressing ahead of schedule, with material from the 385rl being mined in October representing the halfway point with blasting of the 380rl bench conducted towards the end of the month. Material movements over the final three months are anticipated to reduce in line with increased ore delivery, tighter working areas and normal mining constraints associated with reduced volumes at the base of open pit mines.
Over the coming months, ore will be stockpiled at the Selkirk ROM Pad and subsequently hauled to Genesis Minerals Limited’s (ASX:GMD) Gwalia Processing facility in February 2024 for processing in a single parcel during currently elevated AUD gold prices of +$3,050/oz which is above the budgeted conservative gold price of $2,850/oz.
Figure 1 - Progress photograph (looking NW) of Selkirk Cutback, end October 2023
Brightstar is actively engaged in reviewing its deposits within its portfolio for other potential mining campaigns, with a “Selkirk 2.0” model envisaged to generate future cashflow opportunities. In particular, the Menzies Gold Project contains near-surface, oxide material which could potentially represent a low-cost mining and processing opportunity for low risk, high margin gold ounces.
This article includes content from Brightstar Resources, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here .
The price of gold is nearing a record high . Earlier this year, it topped $2,041.30 per ounce — the second-highest value in history. And there is every indication the previous metal's value will only continue to climb.
The reason is multifaceted. The world teeters on the brink of a severe recession . Amidst ballooning interest rates, bank failures and falling bond yields, demand for gold continues to rise.
This is to be expected, as bullion almost always becomes a hot commodity during times of economic uncertainty. At this precise moment, gold is simultaneously an excellent portfolio diversifier and a compelling hedge against ongoing inflation — particularly if one invests in the right company.
Brightstar Resources (ASX: BTR ) aims to be that company. An emerging mining and development company, Brightstar occupies a strategic land position of roughly 300 square kilometers in the Laverton Tectonic Belt and 140 square kilometers of the Menzies Shear Zone.
The company also owns an existing processing facility that can potentially provide tremendous shareholder value in a low-capital cost restart scenario. In fact, Brightstar has engaged experts for a scoping study to assess the refurbishment of its wholly owned onsite processing plant.
That pla nt, once fully refurbished and operational, could prove a key differentiator for the company, enabling fast gold production at a low capital cost. This is especially noteworthy given that many other gold companies trading on the ASX are largely focused on greenfield exploration and development. Even once those companies discover a promising resource, mining and processing facilities would still need to be built, undertakings which can incur significant upfront capital costs and take a number of years.
Brightstar also recently finalized a merger agreement with Kingwest Resources (ASX: KWR ), under which Brightstar acquired 100 percent of the shares in Kingwest. From a strategic standpoint, this merger has allowed the two companies to consolidate their assets, resulting in combined JORC mineral resources of roughly 1 million ounces, all on granted mining leases.
The strategic merger also allows Brightstar to accelerate development and expansion of its existing mineral resources while also establishing the company as a potential near-term developer.
Brightstar's Laverton Gold Project assets are all centered on a 100%-owned 300-square-kilometer tenure in the Laverton Tectonic Zone and all within 70 kilometers of the Laverton Processing Plant. Additionally, all resources within this zone are open along strike and at depth. Only minor drilling programs have been conducted in recent years, paving the way for significant exploration upside with the potential for further regional and greenfields discoveries.
Brightstar also owns 100% of the Menzies Gold Project, a contiguous land package of granted mining leases over a strike length of roughly 15 kilometers along the Menzies Shear Zone and adjacent to the Goldfields Highway.
- Brightstar Resources is an emerging ASX-listed mining and development company with more than one million ounces of gold resources and potential on-site processing infrastructure.
- The company has engaged experts to conduct a scoping study of its processing infrastructure with the goal of refurbishing and potentially expanding it.
- Once refurbished, this infrastructure will allow Brightstar to fill a growing investment void for near-term gold developers in Western Australia, producing large quantities of gold at low capital cost.
- Brightstar's mineral assets are situated across roughly 300 square kilometers of 100-percent-owned land in the Laverton Tectonic Zone. Together, they account for a current total JORC Resource of more than a million ounces.
- Brightstar’s Menzies Gold Project is a highly promising asset which has already undergone extensive historic mining and development. The Menzies Gold Project's total current resource estimate is 11.7 Mt @1.33 g/t gold for 505koz gold (40 percent measured and indicated; 60 percent inferred)
- Brightstar plans to continue generating shareholder value through a combination of development and strategic acquisitions along with some exploration.
Brightstar Processing Facility
Situated close to Brightstar's existing mineral assets at Laverton, the Brightstar Processing Plant provides the company with a considerable operational head start over its peers. The 485 kilo-tons per annum carbon-in-leach plant is currently on care and maintenance. Brightstar is assessing a refurbishment and expansion strategy for the plant, building on a 2021 report from Cosmo Engineers.
Current facilities at the plant include two ball mills, a power station and gravity and elution circuits. Other infrastructure includes:
- A tailings storage dam
- An on-site process water pond
- An operational 60-person accommodation camp
- An airstrip at the nearby Cork Tree Well Project
- Vehicles and equipment including a forklift, bobcat, two loaders, multiple light vehicles and a 30-tonne crane.
- A Leg Up Over Competitors : The presence of pre-existing processing infrastructure represents significant time savings compared to greenfields development.
- Low Upfront Capital Cost : A 2021 report from Cosmo Engineers showed that fully refurbishing the plant to a 650-ktpa throughput represents a capital cost of roughly $5.5 million, including $1.9 million in owner's costs and a 30 percent contingency.
- Further Expansion : In June 2023, Brightstar announced that it has engaged a team of independent experts to conduct a scoping study which will assess refurbishment requirements and expansion opportunities.
- Close to Existing Assets : Brightstar's three major development projects — Cork Tree Well, Beta and Alpha — are all in close proximity to the plant.
Cork Tree Well
Cork Tree Well is a former operating mine, producing 45 koz of gold over its lifespan. Located roughly 35 kilometers north of Laverton on Bandya Station Road, the project’s JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 5,610 kilotons (kt) at 1.4 g/t for 252 koz of gold has increased by 20 percent to 303 koz, delivering a combined JORC Resource base of 1.02 million ounces gold from the Laverton and Menzies gold projects.
- Promising Drilling Results : Two 6,000-meter drill programs were completed in late 2022, and in the first quarter of 2023 delivered an uplift in tonnages and ounces at a discovery cost of AU$30 per ounce. The JORC 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate increased by 20 percent to 303 koz delivering a combined JORC Resource base of 1.02 million ounces of gold and representing a 65-percent increase to the indicated ounces to 157 koz @ 1.6g/t gold. These results further provide a more robust base for mining scoping studies.
- Upcoming Feasibility Studies : The drilling program will underpin several feasibility studies that Brightstar intends to conduct later this year. At present, Brightstar has defined a resource envelope over a strike length of approximately 1 kilometer and down to 200 meters.
- Area Geology : The Cork Tree deposit is situated along the western limb of the Erlistoun synclical structure, a sequence which includes mafic volcanic lavas, tuffs and tuffaceous sediments alongside minor interflow graphitic shales and banded iron formation. The mine itself consists of chlorite schist-altered high-magnesium basalt footwalls overlain by graphitic shales containing banded iron and chert beds. Gold mineralization is contained within sediments intruded by concordant porphyry sills spanning the length of the mineralized zone.
Menzies Gold Project
Situated 130 kilometers north of the globally significant Kalgoorlie gold deposit, Menzies represents one of Western Australia's leading historic gold fields. The project, fully owned and operated by Kingwest prior to its merger with Brightstar, consists of a contiguous land package of a strike length in excess of 15 kilometers. All deposits are now 100-percent-owned by Brightstar and lie within granted mining leases.
Brightstar intends to leverage its processing infrastructure to monetise the high-grade open pit ounces produced by this mine.
- Significant Historical Production: Menzies has hosted multiple historically mined high-grade gold deposits which together produced a total of over 800,000 ounces at 19 g/t gold. This includes 643,000 oz @ 22.5 g/t gold from underground.
- Profit Sharing : Brightstar and BLM Ventures have a 50/50 profit-sharing joint venture agreement to exploit the Selkirk deposit at Menzies. Under this agreement, Brightstar is responsible for capital costs, mining and haulage. The joint venture also has a toll treating agreement with St Barbara Limited (ASX: SBM ) to process ore from Selkirk at Leonora.
- Area Geology : The Menzies Gold Project is hosted along the Menzies Shear Zone in the western margin of the Menzies greenstone belt. It displays a geologic setting similar to the Sand Queen Gold Mine at Comet Vale.
LAVERTON GOLD PROJECT – OTHER RESOURCES
Located immediately adjacent to the Brightstar Plant, the Beta Project includes a 60-person camp. It contains a combined JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 1,882 kt at 1.7 g/t for 102 koz of gold. The deposit occurs along the Eastern Margin of the Laverton Tectonic Zone, notable for hosting multiple major gold occurrences including Granny Smith, Keringal, Red October and Sunrise Dam.
Hosting a combined JORC 2012-compliant mineral resource of 1,452 gold at 2.3 g/t for 106 koz, the Alpha Project . Future exploration programs and feasibility studies will seek to potentially capitalize on Alpha's close proximity to Beta.
Alex Rovira - Managing Director
Alex Rovira holds a Bachelor of Science (geology) and Bachelor of Commerce (corporate finance) from the University of Western Australia, and for the past nine years has been working as an investment banker at a global financial services company that focused on the metals and mining sector.
Greg has extensive experience in public and private markets mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and strategic advisory assignments across a range of sectors including general industries, metals and mining, mining services and energy.
Jonathan Downes - Non-executive Director
Jonathan Downes has more than 25 years’ experience in the mining industry and has worked in various geological and corporate capacities. He has worked with nickel, gold and base metals and has also been intimately involved with numerous private and public capital raisings.
Josh Hunt - Non-executive Director
Josh Hunt is an experienced capital markets and M&A lawyer and has extensive experience in all aspects of mining and energy project acquisitions and disposals and general mining legislation compliance throughout Australia. Hunt has advised on numerous IPOs, fundraisings, and acquisitions by both public and private companies on the ASX and internationally. He will assist the Brightstar board with corporate governance, company law and capital market management going forward.
Tony Lau is currently the chief financial officer of Stone Group Holdings based in Hong Kong. Lau has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong for 12 years. Over the past two decades, he has been advising numerous Chinese companies on IPOs and capital raising in the Hong Kong capital market and investing in the mining industry in Australia.