The potential of Greatland Gold’s (LON: GGP) Havieron joint venture is undeniable at this point after Thursday’s news of highly encouraging drilling campaign results. This drilling is right now being carried out by one of the world’s largest gold miners and can only further boost confidence.

Joint venture partner Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) is not only among the largest gold mining firms worldwide, but also the biggest gold producer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Greatland signed a four-stage $65 million farm-in agreement with Newcrest back in March 2019, giving Newcrest the right to earn up to a 70% interest in the joint venture.

Newcrest, which operates exploration activity at Havieron, can also acquire another 5% stake once the farm-out period is over.

The drill campaign is taking place at the Havieron deposit, located in Western Australia’s Paterson region, with recent activities mostly focused on infill drilling of the South East Crescent and Breccia Zone. The goal here is to support an indicated mineral resource estimate for the adjacent zones.

Since the latest January update, results from 26 drill holds have been received – absolutely all of them intersecting mineralisation.

Greatland chief executive Shaun Day said: “The results are outstanding and further highlight the world-class potential of Havieron. Additionally, these results layer onto existing data to further increase our confidence in the continuity of higher-grade mineralisation and support the delivery of an indicated mineral resource estimate.”

Best new results include 196.1 metres (“m”) at 1.7 grams per ton (“g/t) of gold and 0.28% copper from 545.9m at hole HAD112, including 18.5m at 4.9g/t Au and 0.60% Cu from 595m.

HAD122 returned 7m at 3.9g/t Au and 0.50% Cu from 500m. Meanwhile, HAD123 found 69.5m at 3.4g/t Au and 0.33% Cu from 711.5m.

While the gold price has suffered at late, with investors looking ahead with rose-tinted glasses to a post-pandemic world, the reality is that Covid-19 is still with us and will likely stick around for a long time. Not only that, but the US issued massive amounts of debt in the weeks after the 2020 pandemic crisis, exceeding the past five recessions combined. Optimism can hardly be sustained forever, which would mean a return to prominence for the safe haven metal.

The initial inferred resource estimate for Havieron is 52 million tonnes at 2.0g/t Au, plus 0.31% Cu or a 2.5g/t Au equivalent for 3.4 million ounces Au. There is even potential for growing the resource in the future, since the full size of Havieron has still not been defined.

In fact, as Day highlighted, Newcrest is on course to push forward on its “exciting 2021 growth drilling programme” that could “significantly expand the mineralised footprint” at Havieron.

Havieron is not Greatland’s only joint venture with Newcrest. The two companies also have another Australian joint venture and farm in for Juri, agreed in November 2020. Juri will accelerate exploration of Greatland’s Black Hills and Paterson Range East licences. Newcrest gets an immediate 25% interest in the two licences and the right to earn up to a 75% interest by spending up to A$20 million in a two-stage programme.

Juri and Havieron - plus two 100% owned licences, Scallywag and Rudall - together form Greatland’s Paterson project. The project covers over 450 square kilometres in the Paterson region and hosts some of the country’s biggest gold/copper deposits, Telfer and Nifty, but there’s been minimal investment in the last 20 years.

“We look forward to a busy and exciting period over the next few months in the Paterson with growth drilling and early works programmes continuing apace at Havieron and the Juri JV commencing exploration activities,” Day said.

Author: Anna Farley

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