Nova Minerals gets on the fast track with commissioning of sample lab at Estelle Gold Project

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Nova Minerals gets on the fast track with commissioning of sample lab at Estelle Gold Project

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 Nova Minerals gets on the fast track with commissioning of sample lab at Estelle Gold Project
Image source: On-site lab facility (Image source: Company update, 26 July 2021)


  • Nova has commissioned an on-site sample preparation lab at its flagship Estelle Gold Project.
  • The lab has a capacity to process 7,500 samples per month.
  • The on-site lab will lead to considerable savings on costs and reduce assay turnaround time.
  • Nova is engaged in an extensive drilling campaign at the Korbel Main and RPM prospects.
  • The Company is targeting to upgrade and expand its 4.7Moz Mineral Resource.

One of the vital aspects of a drilling campaign on mineral prospects is testing and assaying the rock chips or core samples. This process is time- and cost-intensive and sometimes, it takes even months to get the assay results. To accelerate the assaying work on its flagship Estelle Gold Project, mineral explorer Nova Minerals Limited (ASX:NVA, OTCQB:NVAAF, FSE:QM3) has commissioned an on-site sample prep lab.

Good read: Nova Minerals (ASX:NVA) eyes massive resource update at Estelle Gold Project

The CEO of Nova Minerals, Mr Christopher Gerteisen, commented, “As we continue to advance and increase the Korbel Main deposit both in size and confidence, hoping to release a resource update and a maiden resource for RPM in Q4, this purpose-built sample preparation laboratory on site will reduce costs significantly. It will improve assay turnaround times to release these mineral resource estimates much faster, allowing us to focus on completing the Scoping Study.

The regional recon exploration teams are now being mobilised to continue to advance the other high-priority targets across the project area as part of our mission to unlock the district and develop a pipeline of deposits.”

The CEO also highlighted how things were being ramped up with an additional diamond drill rig set to be mobilised and start turning in the coming months. “Drilling related news and results will continue to flow throughout 2021 and beyond,” he added.

Read here: Nova Minerals eyeing mineral resource outside the Korbel Main 4.7Moz at the RPM prospect with drilling kick-started

Prep lab facility under construction (Image source: Company update, 16 June 2021)

How will the new lab serve the purpose?

To combat the long delays in receiving the assay results, Nova Minerals, back in 2020, decided to set up its own sample preparation lab. Typically, exploration companies send drill samples to commercial preparation laboratories. The prep laboratories, then crush the samples and prepare them for pulverisation and assay to be undertaken by the other commercial labs that have the requisite technological know-how.

With the drilling season in full swing, lot of samples will be sent for analysis. The samples are usually 3m in length, and the crushing lab takes more time to crush and get them ready for further analysis. This was acting as a bottleneck to the entire operation. Nearly 10,000m of drill samples are waiting in queue for assaying results.

Also read: Nova Minerals (ASX:NVA) Makes Steady Progress at Estelle Gold Project

The in-house lab will provide the flexibility to prepare the samples for pulverisation and send them directly to the assaying lab. This will save time and reduce the cost of assaying.

Lab facility in action (Image source: Company update, 26 July 2021)

Nova has retained an independent contractor to operate the lab. The outsourcing will help ensure that drill results are tested fairly, and the lab remains equipped with well-experienced and skilled technicians to operate on the samples.

Good read: Eye on maiden MRE, Nova Minerals scores robust early drilling results at Estelle

The lab can process 7,500 samples per month. The commissioning of the lab is done when the drilling operations are moving aggressively with four rigs in action, and the fifth one is on its way to the field. Nova has commenced PFS metallurgical test work on Korbel Main.

Next steps

  • Field reconnaissance set to begin shortly on the project to delineate further targets.
  • Fifth drilling rig is mobilised on the project and will join the existing fleet in the coming weeks to accelerate the operation on Korbel Main and RPM.
  • Lithium explorer and developer Snow Lake Resources Ltd is set to provide an update shortly. Nova holds a substantial interest in the Company.

To know more read more: Nova Minerals’ (ASX:NVA) shares tick up as its subsidiary Snow Lake upgrades MRE for lithium project

Shares of NVA were trading at AU$0.12 at around 12 PM (AEST). The Company has a market cap of AU$201.71 million as of 26 July 2021.


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