Santana confident to proceed with feasibility studies

A Santana Minerals rock sample, photographed in 2023. A flake of gold is circled with red pen....
A Santana Minerals rock sample, photographed in 2023. A flake of gold is circled with red pen. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
Results are in for Santana Minerals Ltd’s infill drilling programme at its Rise & Shine site near Bendigo, showing the prospect has been redefined but still has a "critical mass" of gold, giving the exploration company confidence to begin mining feasibility studies.

The results show a drop from the total resource estimate of 2.66 million ounces of gold reported in 2023 to 2.21 million ounces reported this month.

There had been a comparable 464% growth in the indicated category to now total approximately 1.3 million ounces. 

The shift of categorisation from inferred to indicated validated Rise & Shine as a reasonable prospect for eventual economic extraction, Santana chief executive Damian Spring said in a report to the Australian Stock Exchange last week.

The infill drilling results revealed a structurally controlled and high-grade zone within the ore body, "which contains the majority of the metal and makes for an outstanding ore system from a mining perspective", he said.

Further in his report, Mr Spring said while the net reduction of total metal "appears as a downgrade", the company considered it a more favourable outcome for future development, "as the majority of the metal is now positioned within a more defined core, which should lead to more positive mine economics".

The immediate focus was to begin mine development studies, he said.

"This is a fantastic result for the company and sets a solid foundation for the commencement of mine development studies," he said. 

"Our resource model is slightly varied but is now tighter and has a clear, consistent and predictable higher-grade core that can be the foundation of initial mining studies.

"The RAS ore system remains open down plunge and we continue our infill drilling aimed at converting more of our inferred resource to indicated category, which would likely suit underground mining methodologies.

"We now have a critical mass to enable initial mine development studies to commence and that is the immediate focus of our team and the company," Mr Spring said.