North Leeville’s maiden resource confirms that its target is rapidly becoming a new high-grade orebody with significant growth potential within Nevada Gold Mines’ Carlin Trend, already one of the world’s most prolific gold districts.
The Trend hosts eight major gold deposits within the 12-kilometre Post-Genesis Fault and three more, including Leeville, in the 6-kilometre Leeville Fault acting as feeders of a giant hydrothermal system. Past production exceeds 95 million ounces, with current measured and indicated resources standing at 32 million ounces, and inferred resources at 7.5 million ounces.
When Barrick and Newmont merged their Nevada assets, there were strong indications of significant potential between North and Greater Leeville, based on drill intercepts at North Leeville that could not be explained by the existing geological model.
“We implemented a strategy focused on understanding the mineralization controls which validated the historic intercepts, upgraded our knowledge of the controls and identified two high-grade priority areas,” says MRM growth manager Adrian Williams.
“Detailed logging led to a step change in our understanding of the mineralization and formed the basis of a new model which was successfully tested last year with a nine-hole drilling program that also delivered one of the best intercepts in the Carlin Trend’s history: 56.7m at 28.39g/t.”
This led to a declaration of a maiden high-grade inferred resource of 0.7 million ounces at 11.6 g/t13,15, representing what is predicted to be the beginning of long-term growth at North Leeville specifically and the Greater Leeville area generally. At the same time, continued exploration at Leeville over the past three years has led to a net increase in reserves of 0.3 million ounces13,15 and in measured and indicated resources of 1.7 million ounces13,15,17 after depletion of ~1.3 million ounces through mining.
As a result, two new drives are currently advancing to the north to support underground conversion drilling while surface drilling continues to expand the North Leeville resource. The two drives are expected to reach the southern margin of North Leeville later this year.
“Most importantly, new geological models have opened significant high-grade potential in multiple directions at both North Leeville and in the Greater Leeville area. The presence of fertile high-angle structural conduits intersecting a pre-mineral intrusive stock is a mirror image of the Deep Post and Deep Star orebodies, two of the richest ever discoveries on the Carlin Trend,” says district exploration geologist Kendle Fraley.
Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow says the creation of the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture was driven by the opportunity to unlock value through the combination of the two companies’ assets in the state.
“The Carlin Trend is one of the world’s geological marvels, comparable to the Witwatersrand in its heyday. The strategies and skills we’ve been able to bring to bear on this unique endowment are ensuring that it’s the gift that will keep on giving,” he says.