Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX:BGL) is advancing towards production at its flagship Bellevue Gold Project in Western Australia with early site works underway while ongoing exploration continues to produce success.
The early works include dewatering and the re-establishment of access to the historic underground Bellevue mine.
Exploration to date has reported significant gold growth with the Tribune Lode alone returning results of 9.6 metres at 14.1 g/t from 107.9 metres, 3 metres at 33 g/t from 162 metres and 0.6 metres at 273.5 g/t from 155 metres.
Economic studies on Bellevue are also planned this year and the company aims to identify possible early cash positive production scenarios from mineralisation beneath existing open pits and resources adjacent to the Bellevue decline.
In the December quarter a total of 29,000 metres of an 80,000-metre diamond core drilling program was completed.
This included infill drilling to convert resources to the higher indicated category as well as step-out drilling to grow the current global inferred resource.
Several high priority targets were identified in the December quarter for immediate follow-up at the new Deacon and Mavis discovery.
Due to the potential size of the targets, analogies with the Bellevue Lode geometry and mineralisation style, the company has decided to expedite drilling at the discovery.
Drilling will target exploration step out at the new discoveries and infill areas to upgrade the resource category at the other target areas which form the current inferred resource of 1.8 million ounces grading 11.1 g/t at a 3.5 g/t cut-off.
Eight drill rigs will now focus on the resource upgrade work and an updated resource estimate is anticipated in the first half of this year.
Assays are pending for a further 15,000 metres of drilling from the Deacon Discovery and the Viago North infill.
Dewatering of decline
The company has commenced work to dewater and re-establish access to the historic underground Bellevue mine workings.
Mine dewatering operations began late in the December quarter with two pumps installed in the Northern Vent Rise (NVR).
Water is being transferred to existing open pits on site and water cannons are being utilised to assist in the evaporation rates.
The benefits of dewatering the Bellevue underground mine are expected to include a lower cost and faster drilling of the Deacon and Mavis Lode discoveries, access for drilling resource extension to the south under a lake and making the site development ready for future mining operations.
New chief operating officer
The company appointed highly experienced mining executive Craig Jones to the newly created role of chief operating officer during the December quarter.
Jones will lead the team in transitioning Bellevue project from exploration through feasibility and development.
As at December 31, 2019, Bellevue Gold had a strong cash position of $20.7 million.