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Dart Mining finds scientific link to Fosterville gold deposit

Updated: Mar 21

Gold panned at Dart Mining’s Rushworth project in central Victoria. Credit: File

Dart Mining has identified similarities with the giant Fosterville gold mine at its Phoenix Hill prospect in Victoria after analysis of drill chips revealed antimony and arsenic that co-occur with gold mineralisation.

The company says reverse-circulation (RC) drill chips from across its prospect, near Rushworth in central Victoria, have been re-assayed to provide important insights into the nature of the mineralisation system at the site.

All 1253 drill pulps, representing 1m drilling intervals, were analysed by portable x-ray fluorescence, with a subset of 270 samples submitted for multi-element analysis by four-acid digest and 65 samples lodged for 50-gram fire assay to provide comparison to the 2kg cyanide leach analysis reported in April. Dart says its analysis results show gold mineralisation co-occurring with arsenic and antimony.

This fundamental exploration approach and results is very important in establishing the elemental pathfinder relationships that are so essential to forward looking exploration activities. The fact that Dart holds 100% of this important historic Goldfield is as exciting as it is prospective. Dart Mining chairman James Chirnside

Located in central Victoria, about 65km east of Bendigo, Rushworth covers some 254 square kilometres of landholding and is bordered by ASX-listed explorers Chalice Mining and gold mining goliath Newmont Mining. The project tenure covers the entire historic Rushworth Goldfield.

Gold was first discovered at Rushworth in the 1850s with a short period of alluvial mining leading to reef workings being developed by 1860. Dart says the historic mines were extremely high grade and mainly mined to the depth of the water table, less than 75 metres below surface. One occurrence of mining to as deep as 426m is recorded.

The company says the only exploration since 1996 concentrated on the Phoenix Hill prospect, covering less than 1km of the strike length on the goldfield’s north side.

Operated by ASX-listed miner Kirkland Lake Gold, Fosterville is believed to be Victoria’s biggest current gold producer. Initial operations, which started in 2005, were focused on near-surface, low-grade mineralisation.

More recently, however, the project has been turning heads with several high-grade gold zones discovered at depth. A series of resource and reserve estimates followed, resulting in an eye-catching 2.7-million-ounce reserve at a whopping 31 grams per tonne gold reported in late 2018. In 2020, Fosterville produced 640,647 ounces of gold at a grade of 33.9g/t with 98.9 per cent gold recovery. Production the following year was 509,601 ounces of gold with total cash production costs of US$282 (AU$426) per ounce.

More than 70 million ounces of gold have been mined in Victoria since the State’s iconic gold rush began in the mid-1800s. Dart’s structural model for Rushworth shares several common elements with the classic central Victorian structural style of orogenic gold mineralisation at the Fosterville, Bendigo and Ballarat systems.

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