Ex­plor­ers on the Move

The Australian Mining Review - - CONTENTS - AMY BLOM

MAM­MOTH gold spec­i­mens found at RNC’s Beta Hunt mine in the WA Gold­fields could be among the largest ever dis­cov­ered, with the po­ten­tial to turn the miner’s for­tunes around.

The Toronto-based com­pany re­cently an­nounced 9250 ounces of high-grade gold had been pro­duced from a sin­gle cut about 500 me­tres un­der­ground over one week.

The high-grade gold in­cluded about 190 kilo­grams of spec­i­men stone, the largest of which was 95kg with an es­ti­mated gold con­tent of 2440oz.

A sec­ond piece came in at 63kg with an es­ti­mated gold con­tent of 1620oz.

Early es­ti­mates from RNC have put the to­tal yield at about $C15 mil­lion in cash.

RNC fol­lowed up its suc­cess just two weeks later when a 43kg spec­i­men stone es­ti­mated to con­tain 1100 ounces of gold was re­cov­ered from the Kam­balda mine.

Ge­ol­ogy man­ager at Beta Hunt mine John Vi­nar de­scribed the ini­tial find as jaw drop­ping.

“It’s ex­tremely rare, there’s no way to de­scribe it – no one has seen that,” Mr Vi­nar said.

“The best way to de­scribe what we saw is if you imag­ine some­one had 100kg of gold bul­lion and they let it ex­plode and then let it go un­der­ground in an amaz­ing atomic ex­plo­sion.

“It’s con­fined to a lit­tle patch, but just to have that sort of con­cen­tra­tion of gold in a small tonnage of rock, it’s never been heard of.”

Mr Vi­nar said RNC’s Aus­tralian sub­sidiary, Salt Lake Min­ing, was in­cred­i­bly lucky to have un­cov­ered the rare find.

“Be­ing a small com­pany, we’re very hand to mouth, so a find of this mag­ni­tude gives us scope and hope,” Mr Vi­nar said.

“Now that we’ve got a bit of money we can ac­tu­ally start do­ing a bit more work and get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the ge­ol­ogy – that’s the most im­por­tant bit.”

RNC chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Selby de­scribed it as an im­por­tant dis­cov­ery, which fol­lowed ear­lier re­cent dis­cov­er­ies high­light­ing the high po­ten­tial at Beta Hunt.

“Just eight weeks ear­lier, at the end of June 2018, 1500 ounces of high-grade gold were re­cov­ered from other sed­i­ment struc­tures on the 14 and 15 lev­els,” Mr Selby said.

The largest gold spec­i­men ever recorded pre­vi­ously was the Wel­come Stranger, which was found in Mo­liagul, Vic­to­ria in 1869 and had a trimmed weight of 78kg.

Fi­nal ounces from the Beta Hunt haul would be de­ter­mined once the gold was pro­cessed.

While most gold from the State was usu­ally sold to the Perth Mint, RNC was un­der­stood to be ex­plor­ing other sales op­tions to max­imise the value of Beta Hunt for RNC share­hold­ers.

RNC shares sky­rock­eted by 211 per cent fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, reach­ing a peak of $C0.28 up from $C0.09.

Im­age:SaltLakeMin­ing.

A 95kg spec­i­men stone.

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