Following an extensive drill campaign in 2022 US gold company Fortitude Gold Corp. [OTCQB: FTCO] this week released the maiden mineral resource estimate for its County Line property located in Mineral and Nye Counties in Nevada.
The gold explorer, developer and producer focused most of its drilling on the historic open pit and covered 8,231 meters of drilling in 73 holes.
The released Estimate was very positive, showing measured mineral resource of 19,500 gold ounces at 1.04 grams per tonne, indicated mineral resource of 17,900 gold ounces at 0.90 grams per tonne and inferred mineral resource of 12,200 gold ounces at 0.87 grams per tonne. Cut-off grade calculations used mining, processing, and refining costs based on the actual costs at Fortitude Gold’s producing Isabella Pearl mine during 2022.
Potential to expand and upgrade the MRE
As the mineralisation remains open along strike and downdip, additional infill and step-out drilling is expected to show more mineralisation, allowing the possibility of expanding and upgrading the mineral resource estimate. The full Initial Assessment Technical Report Summary will be released alongside the company’s upcoming annual report for 2022.
The oxide mineralisation at County Line is amenable to cyanide leaching and could potentially be processed at the company’s Isabella Pearl facility which has an already operating heap leach pad and ADR facility. If this goes ahead, the raw material will be transported by trucks the 31 kilometres between the facilities down a paved Nevada state route.
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Fortitude Gold is currently evaluating if it could produce the final gold doré at Isabella Pearl and if this method proves feasible it will apply for expedited permitting as the new site will not need to have a processing facility. There are two key benefits for the firm here. Ore from County Line could lend some longevity to the Isabella Pearl operations, while not having to build a processing facility at the site would mean lower capital development costs and reduced construction time.
The team is working on filling the remaining baseline background studies, while third-party metallurgical test work and geotechnical studies are being planned for the coming months.
“We are evaluating pit designs for mining the mineralisation in a phased approach in an effort to pull as much of this initial resource into a mine plan,” said Fortitude Gold’s chief executive and president Jason Reid.
Rising gold prices supports Fortitude Gold’s plans
For investors Fortitude Gold is an interesting play because it offers not only exposure to gold production (it produced 41,231 gold ounces in 2022), but also a dividend yield. The company is now working toward a potential production decision based on the maiden mineral resource estimate.
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