- Middle Island (ASX:MDI) utilised the year 2020 to maximum advantage despite COVID-19 pandemic and the momentum continues.
- The Company made remarkable progress in its 2020 exploration campaign at Sandstone during FY 2020.
- The gold explorer anticipates the Sandstone project to start developing and producing gold in the financial year 2020.
- The Company’s cash assets totalled ~$4.7 million as on 30 June 2020.
- MDI attributes its success during the COVID-19 pandemic to the assistance of sound WA State Government, Federal Government and mining industry leadership coupled with a measure of good fortune.
While the year 2020 ushered in many uninvited troubles for economies worldwide amidst COVID-19 outbreak, gold explorer Middle Island Resources Limited (ASX:MDI) seems to have gone against the grain to cash in on the pandemic crisis and make the most of it.
At a time when equity markets were in freefall, and most of its peers chose to sit on their cash and hibernate, Middle Island Board exhibited courage and commitment to march ahead with an aggressive exploration campaign at Sandstone.
Middle Island commenced an extensive exploration and resource definition drilling campaign at Sandstone in January this year, which turned out to be extremely successful to date.
The Company’s recently released Annual Report outlines its remarkable success at Sandstone drilling campaign, along with other developments undertaken during the financial year 2020.
Remarkable Progress in 2020 Drilling Campaign
Middle Island embarked on the major ~17,000m drilling campaign at Sandstone in 2020, predicting one new discovery as the targeted outcome. However, the Company uncovered five new gold deposits during the event while completing some 50,000m of drilling so far, to bring these new deposits into an Indicated Resource category for review as Ore Reserves in the project’s feasibility study (FS).
Middle Island completed some 30,000m of exploration and resource definition drilling in FY 2020 while the remaining ~20,000m of drilling was completed subsequently.
The Company continued to progress with the 2020 drilling campaign subsequent to the financial year, reporting the following developments:
- Further exceptional drilling results from the McIntyre, Old Town Well, and Plum Pudding deposits
- Final assay results for the McClaren and Ridge extension deposits at Sandstone
- Updated Mineral Resources for the Shillington, Two Mile Hill and Wirraminna open pit deposits
- Maiden MRE for McIntyre and updated open pit estimates for Goat Farm and Twin Shafts deposits
Middle Island completed preliminary resource estimates and pit optimisations on the five new satellite deposits to support in refining the planned Phase 2 resource definition RC and diamond drilling. With the recent completion of Phase 2 drilling, the Company will now complete updated and maiden resource estimates for Shillington, Wirraminna, Goat Farm and Twin Shafts deposits progressively.
The final resource estimates, pit optimisations and mine designs will be progressively undertaken on the new satellite deposits before inclusion in the feasibility study.
The estimated FS completion is currently scheduled in December 2020. Given the existing timeline, the Company anticipates the Sandstone project to start developing and producing gold in the financial year 2020.
Subsequent to the financial year, the NT government approved all 10 exploration licence applications comprising Barkly super project for granting. Moreover, the Company acquired a significant interest in ASX-listed Alto Metals Limited (AME).
Strong Financial Footing
Middle Island’s total exploration expenditure during the financial year amounted to ~$2.35 million relative to ~$1.3 million in FY 2019. The Company’s cash assets totalled ~$4.7 million as on 30 June 2020.
It is worth noting that Middle Island’s cash balance increased substantially by 835 per cent during the course of CY20 (primarily between February and June 2020). During these four months, the Company’s market capitalisation rose by 864 per cent, the number of shareholders soared by 235 per cent, trading liquidity escalated by 508 per cent while Sandstone’s Mineral Resources improved by 425 per cent (with the five new satellite deposits still to be quantified).
Forces Behind MDI’s Success in COVID-19 Era
Middle Island attributes its success during the COVID-19 pandemic to the assistance of sound WA State Government, Federal Government and mining industry leadership coupled with a measure of good fortune.
The gold explorer also credits its success to the Copulos Group that was prepared to share and back its vision significantly. The Company’s vision is to systematically evaluate a multitude of priority gold exploration targets to expand the open pit resource inventory to inform a recommissioning decision at its Sandstone gold project.
It is worth mentioning that the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the associated economic fallout and remedial stimulus, also accentuated the already strong fundamentals underpinning the gold market. Consequently, the gold price rose to record levels.
Middle Island intends to extend and improve the proposed gold production profile for the Sandstone Project to recommission its processing plant at the earliest chance in the current financial year. Besides, the Company will continue to evaluate projects globally to discover potential value-add mineral asset acquisitions.
MDI shares traded at $0.014 on 13 November 2020.