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Meeka Metals infill drilling bolsters Turnberry gold pit resource

Meeka Metals is going for gold with a beefed up resource near Meekatharra. Credit: File

Meeka Metals (ASX: MEK) has strengthened the mineral resource for its optimised Turnberry open pit in Western Australia’s Mid West region, lifting it by 26 per cent to 290,000 ounces of gold.

The revision follows infill drilling to December last year and retains the 2023 total Turnberry mineral resource of 10.7 million tonnes at 2 grams per tonne gold for 690,000 ounces – but 85 per cent of the pit resource now sits in the indicated category.

Management says the total mineral resource for the venture near the WA town of Meekatharra is based on a hefty 126,869m of drilling. It includes 9222m of diamond drilling, with 104 holes for 9542m comprising infill drilling put in since the company’s January 2023 resource estimate.

Significantly, most of the infill work took the drill collar spacing at Turnberry down to a nominal 20m-by-20m grid pattern across the shallow open pit constrained resource, giving management a higher level of confidence in its indicated resource upgrade.

The infill drilling completed over the preceding 12 months and consequently this resource upgrade has delivered the desired outcome. The Turnberry open pit is now 85 per cent Indicated and overall the Murchison is 57 per cent Measured and Indicated.
Meeka Metals managing director Tim Davidson

Most of the gold resource within the open pit is hosted by oxidised rock, with the estimate being constrained entirely within the company’s $2600 per ounce of gold optimisation pit shell. The shell design includes mineralisation down to a depth of at least 250m and now encloses a combined indicated and inferred total of 7.8 million tonnes at a grade of 1.3g/t gold for 330,000 ounces – completely separate from the Turnberry underground resource below the pit floor.

The underground resource currently comprises an additional indicated and inferred total of 2.9 million tonnes at 3.9g/t gold for 360,000 ounces.

Meeka’s Andy Well resource, 15km to the north-west in the adjacent Meekatharra Widgie greenstone belt, contains a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 1.8 million tonnes at 8.6g/t gold for 505,000 ounces. Additionally, its St Annes deposit about 7km to the south in the same Gnaweeda Greenstone Belt as Turnberry, has an indicated and inferred resource of 400,000 tonnes at 3.1g/t gold for 40,000 ounces.

It means the company has its foot on three ventures with a respectable measured, indicated and inferred resource within its Murchison project of 12.9 million tonnes at 3g/t gold for 1.24 million ounces, with a solid 57 per cent in the measured and indicated categories.

Management says it plans to update its 2017 resource estimate for Andy Well in the June quarter.

Meeka’s development documentation for its Murchison project was submitted in December last year, its vegetation clearing permit was approved in March this year and it expects its mining and works approvals in the June quarter. Its definitive feasibility study (DFS) to re-start Andy Well is also expected in the June quarter.

The company is obviously not shy about pumping out high-density drilling to give it the confidence it needs to progress its project. And its pit optimising gold price of $2600 per ounce against today’s $3500 an ounce in Australia appears sensibly conservative, while its shallow oxide ore in the open pit suggests that digging should be relatively straightforward and should lead to manageable mining costs.

It will be interesting to see how this venture progresses from what looks like promising beginnings.

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