Canadian miner RNC is reconsidering its options for the Beta Hunt mine and says it is no longer in exclusive discussions with a preferred bidder for the Western Australian mine, following a new high-grade gold discovery.
RNC announced on Monday that it had produced 9 250 oz of high-grade gold from a 44 m3 cut on 15 level at Beta Hunt, equalling more than 70 oz/t or 2 200 g/t.
The gold included about 190 kg of specimen stone, the largest of which is 95 kg with an estimated gold content of 2 440 oz and a second large specimen stone of 63 kg with an estimated gold content of 1 620 oz.
RNC said that the high-grade coarse gold would be sent directly from site to the Perth Mint this week, with total ounces expected to yield about C$15-million in cash.
"Recovering 9 250 oz of high grade coarse gold from a single cut on the 15 level at our Beta Hunt mine, including specimens which could rank among the largest-ever discovered, underlines the importance of this discovery. Just eight weeks earlier, at the end of June, 1 500 oz of high grade gold were recovered from other sediment structures on the 14 and 15 levels. These discoveries highlight the high-grade gold potential of Beta Hunt," commented RNC president and CEO Mark Selby.
Given the significance of the discovery, RNC announced that it would reconsider its options for the mine, which it put up for sale in March. The alternatives continued to include a potential sale, but the company was no longer in exclusive discussions with a preferred bidder.
RNC announced in July that it had selected a preferred bidder, although the interested party was not named. A transaction was expected to close in August.
RNC believes that the new gold mineralisation provided potential for future exploration and discoveries at the mine.
The company pointed out that it was the first owner of the Beta Hunt mine to focus on drilling deeper in the Lunnon Basalt in its search for gold, and, therefore, the first owner to discover and mine gold from newly discovered coarse gold located entirely within the Lunnon Basalt. Previous bonanza grade specimen stone occurrences at Beta Hunt were associated with the nickel/sulphide-bearing contact between the Lunnon Basalt and the overlying Kambalda Komatiite, where nickel mining has been focused on by RNC and previous operators.