Norton itself is located less than 100 km south of the industrial port city of Gladstone. The most recent commercial production at the site was conducted by Norton Gold Fields Limited (ASX:NGF) in 2005/06. NGF produced circa 14,500t at an impressive head grade of 8.1g/t Au before refocussing their attention to the much larger mines of Western Australia.
Norton’s small but high grade resource has the potential to provide a strong foundation cash flow upon which to base substantial future growth. An internal scoping study released to the ASX in July 2015 projected very favourable returns and demonstrated Norton’s potential to become a low cost, high grade gold mine. The company is currently completing metallurgical studies and final permitting and will then explore options to realise value from the project.
Gold at Norton is contained in high grade, sub-vertical shears that crop at or near the surface. Mantle’s mining licence contains eight significant gold containing shear systems each with multiple minor splays. Three of these have previously been mined to shallow depths only, and remain open in all directions. Numerous additional semi visible shears remain as yet almost totally unexplored.
Norton’s gold Resource estimate stands at 248,000 tonnes at a combined grade of 4.9g/t Au for a total 38,000oz (Inferred and Indicated). The Resource was estimated for only a small proportion of the Norton shears where mining activity is initially targeted. Mineralisation has however been drilled to 150m below surface and remains open.
Norton Mineral Resource (90% held by Mantle).
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The information for the Norton Mineral Resource is extracted from the report entitled “Norton Gold Mine Resource Estimate” created on 15 May 2015 and is available to view on www.mantlemining.com.
Initial mining is designed as a simple extension of the existing open pits. As additional minable shears are exposed more economic, bulk mining, methods will be introduced.
Run of Mine (ROM) production will be processed in a simple onsite gravity separation plant to produce a high grade concentrate. The concentrate will be transported to a regional treatment plant where standard leach processing will be used to recover gold as Dore bars. The process has been designed to deliver substantial cost savings, improved efficiencies and reduced environmental impacts.
The project is in the definitive design stage ahead of staged process plant mobilisation to site and ramp up to production activity. A bulk sampling program has been completed and the results are being used to specify plant and equipment ahead of order placement. Site works have begun and all plans, approvals and necessary contracts are under finalisation.