After an extended period on the sidelines, Kaiser Reef is back on the bourse relisting on the ASX and marking the occasion with the pouring of its first gold bar from its Maldon operations in Victoria. The budding gold producer has acquired the majority of Centennial Mining’s Victorian assets which include the famed A1 gold mine, the multi-million-ounce Maldon goldfield and the nearby gold production facility at Porcupine Flat.
After a 4-month hiatus, the single transaction has propelled the company from explorer straight into the ranks of Australia’s gold producers.
Kaiser’s new acquisitions are located in the fertile goldfields of Victoria – a terrane which lays claim to having historically been one of the largest gold producers in the world. Gold was originally discovered in the 1850s, sparking the famous Victorian goldrush. Since that time, it is estimated more than 80 million ounces of gold has been extracted from alluvial, open pit and underground workings across the southern state.
Historical production is spread across more than twenty-two recognised goldfields, from Stawell in the west of the state, to the Omeo goldfield in the mountainous Victorian high-country in the east, near the NSW border. The standout historical goldfields are Stawell, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Woods Point and Bendigo. The state has had a resurgence in the last decade, once again attracting the attention of gold miners following the success of Kirkland Lake Gold at Fosterville, 20 kilometres east of Bendigo, which is developing into a world-class operation.
The Bendigo goldfield hosts an astonishing endowment of gold, with historical production of over 22 million ounces of gold. In context, it is perhaps no surprise that Kaiser Reef has picked up the Maldon operations just 30km to the south-west of gold-rich mining centre.
Kaiser’s Maldon operations not only cover the high-grade Maldon goldfield but also delivers the company the nearby 150,000 tonnes per annum Porcupine Flat gold plant, providing a vertically integrated processing solution to the freshly minted miner. The Maldon field has historically produced over 1.7 million ounces of gold and an impressive average grade of 28 grams per tonne gold, or close to an ounce per tonne. Production at Maldon has come from a series of predominantly underground mining operations including the Nuggety, Eaglehawk, Union, German and Beehive Reefs, which stretch along more than 4km of strike.
The quartz-rich Nuggety Reef at the northern end of the Maldon field is a particularly interesting pick up having historically produced over 300,000 ounces at an astonishing grade of 187 g/t gold.
In more recent times, modern mining has included the development of the Union Reef underground operation, which is currently on care and maintenance whilst the company undertakes a geological review of the extended Maldon ore system. The study has already identified six priority targets below the existing mine workings, along the entire strike length of the goldfield, with Kaiser quickly gaining a unique understanding of the structural controls across the gold-rich terrane.
The Maldon mill has been fed by ore from the company’s A1 mine over the past 18 months. The A1 mine is located around 190km to the east of Maldon, in the Woods Point-Walhalla goldfield, near the town of Jamieson and has a history of mining which dates back to 1861. Historical records reveal a total production of over 500,000 ounces from the underground operation with the average grade from the mine weighing in at a very healthy 25.9 g/t gold. The company’s ore feed being delivered from the A1 mine to the Maldon mill currently tips the scales at a highly profitable 11.4 g/t gold.
Its initial work at the A1 mine will be aimed at shoring up and expanding its reserve position and to increase Kaiser’s production rate from the high-country mine. The company has already identified a potential new ore source in the “Queens Lode”, with historical drilling returning a string of impressive intercepts from the reef including 11.9 metres at 16.3 g/t gold and 25.0m at 7.3 g/t gold. An exploration drill rig is already on site and grinding its way to the target with results expected in the coming weeks.
Kaiser scooped up the Victorian gold projects and infrastructure from the administrators of Centennial Mining in a scrip purchase that saw the company issue the equivalent of $16 million of shares to owners of the Centennial. It subsequently raised a further $7.5 million in working capital to help fund ongoing exploration and development, leaving Kaiser Reef debt-free and well-positioned to ramp up production from its advancing high-grade mining operations.
The company’s first days back on the board has coincided with a hive of activity which included a detailed review of the Maldon deposits and mill highlighting plenty of future opportunities. It appears the company is looking to ramp up gold operations across a broad front throughout 2021.
Kaiser Reef now joins the growing throng of explorers and producers flocking to Victorian goldfields, which includes the likes of Kalamazoo and Novo Resources, signalling a move to cooler climes as it takes up a strategic position on two of Victoria’s most famous goldfields.
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