Evolution All Het Up about Ernest Henry

Evolution Mining is all enthusiastic about high copper and gold values from three deep drill holes at its Ernest Henry mine in northern Queensland that could pave the way for a significant upgrade for the operation’s future.

Thursday’s annual meeting heard how the three areas of interest had “intersected significant mineralisation widths within and below the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) mine life extension area.”

Evolution said the trio of holes and their intersections “will support the pre-feasibility study (PFS) and represent potential for further life of mine extension”.

Investors liked the idea and pushed Evolution shares up 6.6% to $2.74 on Thursday.

“These drill results are not reflected in the current Mineral Resource and will be incorporated in the annual Mineral Resource update to be released in the March 2023 quarter,” Evolution said on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Evolution released an updated Mineral Resource estimate for Ernest Henry that captured 119 new drill holes and resulted in a 28% increase in contained copper to 1.13 million tonnes and a 24% increase in contained gold to just over 2 million ounces.

“Today we have again demonstrated the world class nature of the deposit with our ASX release providing an exploration update for Ernest Henry,” the company said on Thursday.

“The recent drilling results from our ongoing exploration program showcase the enormous opportunity at Ernest Henry, with drillholes intersecting significant mineralisation widths within the Pre-Feasibility Study area and below.”

The PFS is due to be completed by the end of this year and will examine the feasibility of extending the Ernest Henry mining operation into the 2030’s.

The three new drillholes intersected significant mineralisation widths within and below the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) mine life extension area including:

They include one with an intersection of 157 metres grading 1.26 grams of gold to the tonne (g/t) and 1.62% copper, a second of 102 metres grading 1.06g/t gold and 1.39% copper and a third hole with an intersection of 90.8 metres grading 1.42g/t gold and 1.54% copper

Drilling is ongoing to test the continuity of mineralisation in sparsely tested areas up-plunge within the PFS extension area,” Evolution said.

The intersections are deep – starting at around 1,442 metres to 1,666 metres, which is below what was thought to be the bottom of the existing orebody.

Commenting on the new drill results, Evolution Executive Chair Jake Klein said in the ASX release:

“The outstanding copper-gold grades and widths in the new drilling results demonstrate the exciting potential for mineralisation to extend up- plunge and at depth. This showcases the significant opportunity that exists to extend the life of this high margin operation.”

Besides the PFS at Ernest Henry, Evolution is also conducting one into a potential plant expansion at Mungari (near Kalgoorlie) but the company will not proceed immediately if the report gives the plan the greenlight.

Klein told the meeting that expansion idea “will be considered when cost inflation and labour market conditions in Western Australia stabilise” which is a notable statement from a major miner.

“Looking ahead to the 2023 financial year, our guidance is 720,000 ounces (+/-5%) at a sector leading AISC of $A1,240 per ounce (+/-5%), maintaining our position as one of the world’s lowest cost gold producers.

“Our 2024 financial year outlook sees production grow to 800,000 ounces (+/-5%) at an AISC of A$1,240 per ounce (+/- 5%),” Klein told the meeting.

Evolution operates five wholly-owned mines – Cowal in New South Wales, Ernest Henry and Mt Rawdon in Queensland, Mungari in Western Australia, and Red Lake in Ontario, Canada.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

View more articles by Glenn Dyer →