EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT

Another year, more gold growth for Saturn

OVER the past six years Saturn Metals has increased its resources almost fourfold, and is anticipating a time when it can join the ranks of the Australian gold producers at its Apollo Hill project, near Leonora in Western Australia.

 Apollo Hill

Apollo Hill

Pit-constrained resources at Apollo Hill are now 1.84 million ounces grading 0.54 grams per tonne, and increase of 370,000oz, with half counted as measured and indicated.
 
Saturn is using a slightly lower cut-off grade of 0.2gpt as it studies the potential for a low-cost heap leach trial that, if the winds of the market are favourable, means it can start generation cash in what remains a fairly robust gold price environment.
 
A full study of mining options is underway, with the results of a preliminary economic study expected within weeks that will examine an eight-year mine life recovering 100,000ozpa.
 
Managing director Ian Bamborough said with its improving geological understanding of Apollo Hill, Saturn had been able to add 9.5oz for each metre drilled, so there was a good chance of adding more ore given the mineralisation is open along strike, beyond the 6km trend drilled so far.
 
Work so far suggests the deposit's economies of scale and consistency to be able to consider efficient bulk tonnage mining and scheduling practices.
 
"The results of our 2023 metallurgical test program have demonstrated the ability to achieve higher gold recoveries across the deposits full grade range under an improved heap leach processing scenario," he said.
 
The company has barely scratched the surface of its wider 1000sq.km tenement holdings along the multi-million ounce Keith-Kilkenny Fault system, and as Apollo Hill takes shape it will increasingly step out across the district.
 
Saturn has two rigs in the field currently, and is expecting to see new assays from regional targets including Hyperion and Bull Terrier, both within 30km along the Apollo corridor.
 
Drilling so far has been moderately shallow, but given the deep Gwalia mine is just 50km to the north-west, the system could extend even further at depth.
 
Saturn recently raised A$1.5 million at 16c, increasing its treasury to almost $6 million, with Dundee Corporation electing to increase its shareholding to 19.99%
 
The cash will help find the pilot heap leach plant that is expected to be online in the first half of 2024. 
 
Full-scale production could follow in 2026, extending the 300m-long trial pit to 2.5km.
 
Saturn shares have traded at 13-36c over the past year and were last traded at 18c, capitalising it at $29 million. 

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