Battle North Gold (TSX: BNAU; US-OTC: BNAUF), previously Rubicon Minerals, has released an updated resource estimate for its flagship Bateman gold project, formerly known as Phoenix, which grows the measured and indicated tonnes by 18% with no major changes in grade.
The latest estimate features 4.6 million tonnes in the measured and indicated category, grading 6.63 grams gold per tonne, for a total of 979,000 oz. gold with a further 1.3 million inferred tonnes, at 6.57 grams gold per tonne, containing 283,000 ounces.
When compared with the previous resource from January of this year, the latest figures represent an 18% increase to the measured and indicated tonnes, and a 21% growth in the associated ounces, with a 3% boost in grade. The inferred portion decreased by a similar amount as the company focused on oriented infill drilling between the 854-metre and 1,098-metre levels this year.
“The expansion of the measured and indicated mineral resource estimate to 979,000 oz. gives us confidence that we can potentially extend the current conceptual mine life to the Bateman gold project within our impending feasibility study,” George Ogilvie, the company’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
Ogilvie added that he is pleased with the results of the infill work completed over the past few months for two reasons. The first is the high conversion of inferred resources to the measured and indicated category, at over 90%, and the addition of approximately 132,000 oz., at a head grade of 8.15 grams gold, to the indicated classification.
“These results provide strong indications of the further potential exploration upside of the F2 gold zone at the Bateman gold project,” Ogilvie added. The latest resource was derived using a 3 gram gold per tonne cut-off grade.
Current inferred resources extend down to the 1,403-metre level, with additional potential to grow the measured and indicated inventory through orientated infill drilling. The gold zone remains open and, according to the company, the geological model developed for the project in 2018 is in line with the latest observations from F2.
The company remains on track to complete a maiden feasibility study, based on the latest resource, for the underground asset in the second half of the year. This work is now 75% complete and Battle North is evaluating quotes for work and equipment.
Bateman features an existing production shaft and a 1,800-tonne per day permitted mill.
Last year, the company released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Bateman, which outlines a six-year underground mine producing approximately 80,000 oz. gold annually at all-in sustaining costs of US$882 per oz., with head grades of 5.31 grams gold.
In a note to investors, Andrew Mikitchook of BMO Capital Markets highlights his expectation of a higher production profile in the upcoming feasibility when compared with last year’s PEA.
“A clear takeaway from this resource update is that the feasibility should have a longer mine life than the approximately 520,000 oz. in the PEA, and supports our assumption of 1 million oz. mined at Bateman over an extended mine life of about 10 years.”