More than 65,000m of drilling is expected to be completed at the Pajingo mining lease this calendar year as the geology team builds the picture that will determine the operation’s future.
Six surface rigs and one underground rig were hard at work at the peak of activity, geology manager Andrew Beaton said.
A major thrust of that work has been building the case to develop a decline to mine the Lynne deposit.
This move would pave the way for further underground drilling that could open up a raft of exciting economic deposits to extend the life of the mine.
“We’re immediately targeting 50-60,000-ounces on the Lynne structure – there is already an inferred resource of over 200,000 ounces on that structure,” Mr Beaton said.
“We’re just drilling out the better grade vein and we know there are other high- grade shoots on that structure as well.
“It’s expensive to drill from surface, so once we can justify getting down there (by developing the decline) that will open up the rest of the Lynne structure – plus things like Voyager and Io and Moonlight.
“They are all structures that we know about that have a few holes from surface out there, but once we’re underground there is a much shorter drilling distance and it’s much cheaper to drill them out.”
Mr Beaton said the operation hoped to start developing the decline in the first quarter of 2019 and be drilling underground by the last quarter.
“The other thing we’ve done from a resource development point of view in the last 18 months is to really focus on some shallow open pit-able targets on surface,” he said.
“We’ve had a rig here pretty much all of last year and from April 1 this year (focused on that task).
“We spent a fair portion of last year drilling out three main open-pit targets – Janine, Janine North-West and Orchid.
“We have now finished mining Orchid and we are still mining the others.
“That rig has been drilling our other potential targets, so we’d like to bring on another two pits next year and keep the open-pit mining going.”
On the underground front, recent drilling work had focused on pushing into a new deposit for mining known as Camembert, he said.
Mr Beaton said Charters Towers-based contractors Eagle Drilling NQ had ramped up to provide the surface rigs Pajingo had required as drilling intensified while Mitchell Services had been carrying out the underground drilling.