The Walhalla to Woods Point gold field is one of the most significant in Australian history with gold production having exceeded 155 tonnes (6 million ounces). In the late 1950’s Morning Star was one of Australia’s largest gold mines having reportedly produced in excess of 800,000 ounces at an average grade of 26.5 g/t over its lifetime. The mine was owned and operated by Gold Mines of Australia (GMA) later merged into Western Mining Corporation (WMC).
Morning Star has, by historical production, displayed potential to deliver low-cost, high grade gold production upon which to found major corporate expansion.
AuStar Gold acquired Morning Star Gold NL (MCO) in 2015, including the Morning Star mine and a large tenement holding with numerous other historic mines. At the time of acquisition, the Morning Star mine had been fully refurbished, including to 10 Level, and with numerous development drives rehabilitated in the upper levels for preliminary bulk sampling and trial mining activities.
MCO recently constructed a new 80,000 tonne per annum processing plant and associated paste backfill facility. All necessary supporting infrastructure is in place, including a high-speed winder, surface and underground power supplies, site offices and accommodation quarters. The facilities are permitted for tailings placement underground via the paste backfill plant, making Morning Star the only permitted processing plant on the entire gold field.
The mine exploits narrow quartz vein deposits hosted in a diorite dyke that is 700m long by 120m wide. The quartz veins are stacked and range up to 2m thick. Historic workings continue underground for 815m below the surface, to 25 Level, and the dyke remains open at depth.
Morning Star Gold NL previously estimated and reported a gold Resource of 910,000 oz., including 726,000 oz. Au at 11.2g/t. AuStar Gold is currently undertaking detailed remodelling of the Resource estimate and is primarily targeting a restated estimate for the upper, rehabilitated levels of the mine.
Interactive 3D Model of the Morning Star Dyke and Reefs
Interactive 3D Model of the Rose of Denmark Mine
Morning Star Mineral Resource (95% held by AuStar Gold).
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The information for the Morning Star Mineral Resource is extracted from the report entitled “Mantle Secures Major Gold Opportunity” created on 8 August 2015 and is available to view on www.austargold.com.
The Mineral Resource estimate is not AuStar Gold’s estimate and AuStar Gold has not done sufficient work to report the estimate in accordance with the 2012 edition of the “Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves” (JORC Code). AuStar Gold is not aware of anything to suggest that the assumptions underpinning the estimate have materially changed and has commenced work to validate the Mineral Resource and disclose it in accordance with the 2012 edition of the JORC Code however investors should treat the estimate with caution until validated.
AuStar Gold plans to bring Morning Star back into a ready for production state by mid-2017. The company is focussed initially on the Donaldson’s Reef, on 2 Level, which is only 100m from the shaft. Kenny’s Reef, on 9 Level, has already been accessed to enable bulk sampling for metallurgical purposes.
AuStar Gold is also reviewing the potential for redevelopment of other historic mines on its tenements as well as designing a detailed regional exploration program targeting new dyke systems. MCO’s Rose of Denmark (held 49% under Joint Venture) and Wallaby mines in particular hold substantial potential as additional future production sources.
Gold from Morning Star is traditionally free milling allowing for production of a high grade concentrate using simple and cost effective gravity separation. It is envisaged that this high grade concentrate will be trucked to a nearby leach plant for toll treating. Morning Star also has a recovery and smelting system in order to recover coarse free gold and pour Dore onsite.