i-80 Gold Corp. [IAU-TSX] reported new drill results for its 40%-owned South Arturo property in the Carlin trend, Nevada. South Arturo is a joint venture with Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) and includes the producing high-grade El Nino underground mine.
Work completed in 2020 included a successful expansion drill program at El Nino as well as work targeting the advancement of two additional development opportunities on the property; the Phase 1 open pit and the Phase 3 project.
The 3,800-metre drill campaign completed in 2020 from underground drilling stations demonstrated the ability to extend mine life at depth with numerous high grade intercepts (previously released) including 26.76 g/t gold across 18.3 metres, 17.11 g/t gold across 39.6 metres and 5.73 g/t gold across 100.6 metres.
Following up on the success of this drill program, more than 8,000 metres of exploration drilling are planned in 2021 focused on extending mineralization further down dip at the Lower El Nino and Cloud Nine targets.
Highlights for previously unreleased intercepts from the 2020 drill program include 19.8 metres of 12.20 g/t gold (SEC20012); 29.0 metres of 6.20 g/t gold (SEC20014); and 25.9 metres of 14.05 g/t gold (SEC20015).
Development of a ramp to access the deeper mineralization is under way and is expected to be completed in Q1 2023. Production of orebodies accessed from the ramp is expected to begin in Q2 2022.
More than 3,500 metres of drilling was completed on the near surface portion of the planned Phase 1 open pit to increase confidence in the ore reserves and upgrade mineral resources. This drilling returned higher than expected grade-thicknesses and Barrick has moved heap leach material from Phase 1 into their year-end 2020 mineral reserves. In 2021, the joint venture plans to complete further metallurgical work in advance of mine construction.
2020 drilling completed in the Phase 3 project area also returned favorable results and the joint venture partners have commenced trade-off studies to optimize the economics of the project as an underground versus open pit project, or a combination scenario. Initial work on the underground option has been encouraging and 3,500 metres of exploration drilling is planned to test the Hendrix target located between the El Nino and Phase 3 deposits.