Great Western Mining Corporation PLC (AIM – GWMO, Euronext Growth – 8GW), the mineral exploration and development company with gold, silver and copper assets in the USA, provides the following update on its operations.
EXPLORATION & DRILLING
· New claims staked at Olympic Gold Project
· Rig contract agreed for 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) drilling programme at Olympic Gold and Rock House (RH) group commencing April
· Trial drilling planned for copper at M4
· Light, portable, two-man coring rig being upgraded in-house to drill prospects with difficult access at Mineral Jackpot and M4
· Laboratory test results indicate commercial viability of processing gold and silver through gravity separation
· Completion of scheduled processing of Mineral Jackpot spoil heap material to recommence following equipment repairs
· Trial processing of precious metals for material recovered from the Rock House Group (RH)
2021 DRILLING PROGRAMME
New drilling is planned for the 2021 work season at:
· The Olympic Gold Project – OMCO Mine Extension and Trafalgar Hill Prospect
· Rock House Group
· M4 Gold/Copper prospect
· Mineral Jackpot
A contract has now been agreed with O’Keefe Drilling for a reverse circulation (RC) rig with a programme to drill 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) at the Olympic Gold Project and the RH Group. This will be the first time that the Company has drilled at Olympic Gold, over which it acquired a purchase option in 2020, and the first time anybody has ever drilled at the RH Group.
In addition, a light, portable, two-man coring rig has been procured to drill targets not accessible by the RC rig without further road construction or upgrades. This will firstly drill at the M4 gold and copper project and subsequently at Mineral Jackpot. This programme will most likely follow the conclusion of the RC drill rig programme but drilling operations can be unpredictable and may be subject to change.
OLYMPIC GOLD PROJECT
There are two primary objectives at Olympic Gold:
· OMCO Mine Extension: As previously reported, the OMCO Mine produced high grades and high volumes of gold and silver until the 1940s but mining ceased where the productive veins met a fault. Great Western’s objective is to find a continuation of these veins on the eastern side of this fault and the recently-completed geophysical survey gave a strong indication of numerous anomalies which may be the key to this. GWM has therefore moved swiftly to acquire new ground to the east of the existing claim holdings and covering the area which may contain a faulted offset of the OMCO veins. 12 new claims have now been staked, increasing the total claim area by 0.92 km2 and permitting for drilling is under way.
· Trafalgar Hill Prospect: Drill locations have been defined following the recent geophysical survey which has established a very strong magnetic anomaly beneath the Trafalgar Hill target area, indicating the potential for precious metals.
At the M4 prospect, a large copper-rich breccia vein has already been discovered and a near surface intercept of this vein is the initial drill target. Although this is both a gold and copper target, the objective of drilling at M4 will be to appraise the copper potential at minimal cost with a view to attracting a larger industry partner to join the Company in exploitation of its copper potential. To avoid road building, the two-man portable coring rig will be used to drill this hole and possible follow-up holes.
PRECIOUS METALS PROCESSING
A sample load of Mineral Jackpot spoil heap material has been crushed to varying levels at a laboratory in the UK to assess the recoverability of gold and silver at each stage and is under long term analysis, but initial stage results now received indicate the commercial viability of processing gold and silver through gravity separation when crushed to 0.35 millimetres. Gravity separation is less environmentally sensitive than cyanide leaching and now potentially opens a path to commercial development.
The laboratory programme is now in the final phase, being a long term ‘column test’ which simulates a cyanide leaching operation and determines how long it would take to achieve optimum recovery of precious metals through cyanide leaching. The column test is likely to be completed in March.
Cyanide leaching should achieve greater recoveries than gravity separation in the longer term, but the results of the column test will determine its economic viability. Gravity separation offers an interim solution, but a decision to construct a stand-alone leaching project would need to take account of exploiting new veins in addition to processing existing spoil heaps in order to be viable.
Follow up of the successful production of a first dore bar at the end of 2020, from a small pilot test production facility established by the Company, has been delayed, initially by extreme weather and subsequently by the need to replace parts and equipment, which is ongoing.
As well as continuing the processing of spoil heap material, promising new material has been collected in the last two weeks from and near the trenching carried out at the Rock House Group (RH) Eastern Sheer Zone last year and this will also be processed. A further three and a half tonnes of material will be processed through the pilot plant as soon as it is operational.
Great Western chairman Brian Hall commented: “We have a busy programme ahead of us in 2021 and we are pleased to have firmed up a rig contract ahead of the spring and summer work season for an extensive drilling programme, as well as a further drilling programme in difficult locations with a small and portable coring rig. Final analysis of our spoil heap material is quite a long process but we are confident it will be worth the wait and are greatly encouraged by advice we have received on the viability of commercial gravity separation. Drill-testing the OMCO Mine extension and the Trafalgar Hill prospect will be an exciting programme, together with our targets at the RH group, the M4 copper prospect and Mineral Jackpot. We have other gold and silver prospects which we are keen to evaluate further this year, if time and access permits. One limiting factor for Great Western is the continuing restriction on trans-Atlantic travel due to the pandemic and when these restrictions are eventually lifted, we will be able to accelerate our operations and cover even more ground.”
Information in this announcement has been reviewed by William Cooper, who is the Chief Geologist and Vice-President Exploration of Great Western. He holds a MSc in Mining Geology from the Camborne School of Mines. He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (MAIG) and is a Qualified Person as defined in the Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies which form part of the AIM Rules for Companies. Mr Cooper consents to the inclusion of the information in the form and context in which they appear.
About Great Western Mining
Great Western Mining Corporation PLC (AIM: GWMO/Euronext Growth: 8-GW) is focused on accelerating exploitation of its gold and silver prospects in the U.S. state of Nevada, where an active exploration and development programme is underway. Its gold exploration target currently ranges from 0.50 million to 1.50 million ounces from multiple prospects and a project is being developed to produce commercial quantities of gold from numerous spoil heaps. In addition to precious metals, the Company has established a Mineral Resource of 4.3 million tonnes of 0.45% copper, prepared in accordance with JORC guidelines, which underpins the longer-term potential provided by the Company’s portfolio of assets.
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