Venus, Rox supercharge WA Youanmi gold resource

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Matt BirneySponsored
RC drilling at Venus’ Youanmi gold project.
Camera IconRC drilling at Venus’ Youanmi gold project. Credit: File

ASX-listed Venus Metals and joint venture partner Rox Resources have tabled a whopping 1.34 million ounce resource upgrade taking its total Youanmi gold resource in WA to the magical 3m ounce mark. The resource upgrade equates to a significant 156 per cent increase following a seven month period of intensive infill and extensional diamond drilling for approximately 35,000 metres at the Youanmi Deeps deposit.

The recently released resource upgrade from the Youanmi project encompasses drilling results up to the end of October 2021 and incorporates the newly identified Link and Junction prospects in addition to their respective parallel hanging wall lodes.

Near surface resources have not been updated in the recent resource estimate however the company envisages including them soon with further updates pending.

Notably, the all-in exploration costs for the Youanmi project indicate a $7 per gold ounce discovery cost, underlining the highly successful laser targeted approach of the companies.

The JV partners believe the significant increase in gold ounces per vertical metre will pave the way for a set of robust conceptual economics for planned development.

Rox and Venus say the recent decision to use the “Albion” process as the preferred method to process the sulphide ore bodies at Youanmi will further support its robust economics with an average gold extraction rate of 92.2 per cent.

Several different gold processing options were tested on the Youanmi Deeps ore including cyanide leach, roasting, pressure oxidation and ultrafine grind followed by atmospheric cyanide leaching however the Albion process – which combines ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching - returned the most compelling results.

Exploration and resource definition drilling conducted at Youanmi was 70 per cent funded by Rox with the remaining 30 per cent paid by Venus representing the percentage ownership of each company.

The joint venture partners have been busily hammering away at the Youanmi ground since acquiring the sleeping giant in mid-2019.

The resource estimation was undertaken by in-house geological experts and has been independently checked by CSA Global who knows the resource well. CSA Global undertook the previous mineral resource update in June 2021 and conducted thorough checks of the modelling process in the recent update.

It must be noted that the resource estimate method used in June 2021 used a 4.0 g/t gold cut-off grade for both the indicated and inferred categories. The recent resource estimate used a 3.0 g/t gold cut-off grade, however, based on recent mine planning assumptions and on an equal cut-off grade basis using a 4.0 g/t gold cut-off - a significant increase in contained ounces would still occur with an increase of 128 per cent.

Additional drilling results from November and December 2021 are still pending assay and the companies plans to incorporate them into the next mineral resource estimate expected in the June 2022 quarter.

They are now undertaking open pit and underground mining studies that include detailed mine design and optimisation. Simultaneously, detailed metallurgical testwork as part of a scoping study is ongoing that will steer plant design.

The exploratory drill programs don’t look to be easing up at Youanmi in 2022 either with multiple resource conversion and extensional drilling campaigns in the planning phase.

The ferocious drilling campaign undertaken over the past 7 months and the resultant resource upgrade saw Rox’ shareprice soar over 50 per cent today in intraday trading with 30 per cent partner Venus also experiencing a share price rise of 22 per cent.

With 3 million ounces of gold estimated from drilling up to October 2021 and a bucket load of drillholes still pending assay, Venus and Rox look to be unearthing a bountiful supply of gold at Youanmi that is blessed with a decent 800,000 ounces near surface going 1.69 g/t gold and well over 2m deeper ounces that show a respectable grade of 1.69 g/t gold.

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