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Ora Banda eyes next underground mine with new lode discovery

Updated: Apr 23

Ora Banda’s Sand King deposit is firming as the preferred site for its second underground gold mine. Credit: File

Ora Banda Mining has discovered a new high-grade lode system at its Sand King deposit near Kalgoorlie, with the first exploration hole at the site delivering a 16m hit grading 5.6 grams per tonne gold from 145m.

Management says the hole extends mineralisation at the prospect to the north by 100m as Sand King continues to firm as the itss preferred option to host a second underground gold mine. The company says delivering a second underground mine to support its Riverina operation has the potential to lift the ore grade for its 1.2 million tonnes per annum Davyhurst processing plant and substantially increase its production rate.

The significant 16m intercept contains a 14m section grading 6.2g/t gold from 147m and a slightly deeper 3.8m hit at an impressive 11.1g/t from 155.8m. The same hole also revealed a shallower 3m segment going 14.4g/t gold from just 96m including 2.5m at 17g/t. An additional 1.4m hit also returned positive grades going 10.2g/t gold from 120m.

Ora Banda’s latest exploration hole was sunk to test for potential high-grade structures in the northern Sand King area and along strike from the deposit’s main lode in a previously unexplored area. Management says the central area of the deposit is presenting as a large mineralised system, with the main structure extending strike for more than 500m. Widths range from 4m up to more than 8m, with grades returning between 2g/t gold and up to more than 10g/t.

The company has also received additional assays from first-phase drilling at Sand King, with positive results including 7.1m going 3.5g/t gold from 247m and 3.3m at 5.8g/t from 176.8m.

Previously announced highlights from the first phase of drilling show a 2.4m hit at 35.8g/t gold from 176.15m including a 1.45m intercept grading an outstanding 58.8g/t from 176.15m, with a wider section delivering 11.5m going 6.1g/t from 151m.

Discovering this high-grade lode system under the ultramafic unit is game-changing for the prospects of a potential underground mine at Sand King. Our confidence is growing daily and it is becoming more apparent that we are only scratching the surface of the Siberia Gold Complex.
Ora Banda Mining managing director Luke Creagh

The Sand King deposit is on the company’s Siberia project trend about 800m north of the Missouri open pit and about 37km south of its Davyhurst processing plant.

The Siberia operations host the Missouri, Sand King, Palmerston, Bewick Moering, Theil Well and Black Rabbit deposits that have a gold endowment of 750,000 gold ounces. The deposits include defined mineral resources of 4.15 million tonnes grading 3.4g/t gold for 458,000 ounces.

Historical production from the site sits at 293,000 ounces at a grade of 2.5g/t, primarily from open pit sources. Siberia is 37km south-east of the Davyhurst processing plant and about 80km north-west of Kalgoorlie within Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region.

Sand King was previously mined by Western Mining Corporation from the late 1980s to 1991 by open pit methods, producing about 50,000 ounces at 4.8g/t gold. A small cutback to the south was introduced by Ora Banda in August last year and was completed early this year.

The company has already enjoyed significant success at its operating Riverina underground gold mine, with first ore from its Main Lode deposit developed four weeks ahead of schedule and a total of 13,450 tonnes mined during the December quarter at 2.8g/t for 1221 contained ounces.

With a second phase of drilling already underway at Sand King and additional holes being planned to follow up on the latest high-grade discovery, the only question for the company appears to be when it will announce its second underground operation rather than where.

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