VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Michigan-focused project developer Aquila Resources has announced an updated resource estimate for its flagship Back Forty gold/zinc project, lifting the combined measured and indicated zinc resource by 12%, while the contained gold resource climbed 4%.
Based on information gained from 22 further diamond drill holes, completed between 2015 and 2017, the latest resource estimate expands the total measured and indicated tonnage by 10% over the previous 2013 resource statement to 16.6-million tonnes.
Total measured and indicated zinc, comprising floatable and leachable ores, constrained in an openpit scenario and outside of the conceptual pit comprise 1.15-billion pounds at an average grade of 3.13%, and the total contained gold stands at one-million ounces at an average grade of 1.92 g/t.
"The 2018 mineral resource estimate confirms our view that the Back Forty deposit continues to be one of the highest-quality zinc and gold development stories in the mining sector," Aquila CEO Barry Hildred said in a statement.
"This estimate will form the basis for a feasibility study on Back Forty that is in its final stages. In the coming months, we will also announce details of an exploration drilling programme at Back Forty that will seek to further define the underground potential of the deposit, where mineralisation remains open at depth."
The drill-hole database comprises 741 boreholes totalling 128 670 m of drilling, which includes the 22 new holes. This updated resource estimate does not incorporate a further 28 holes that were drilled related to geotechnical investigations, for metallurgical purposes and exploration, including drilling on the mineralised zone discovered in 2016, that is located about 500 m south west of the proposed openpit.
Aquila late last year struck a $10-million financing and $55-million gold stream deal with Osisko Gold Royalties that reflects a major endorsement for the permitted project and provides funding to complete Back Forty pre-construction activities and which also provides a significant portion of the upfront capital.