Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM), said on Monday it was “highly encouraged” by the latest drilling results from Greatland Gold’s (LON:GGP) Havieron gold-copper project, in the Paterson region of Western Australia.
In the past year, the miners have been jointly advancing exploration at Havieron, which is 45km east of Newcrest’s Telfer gold mine, and 500km east of rail and port infrastructure at Port Hedland.
There are now eight drill rigs in operation at the property, up from six rigs previously and the partners are considering constructing an exploration decline in support of potential underground mining by the end of the year.
It may then be possible to achieve commercial production within two to three years from the commencement of decline.
“It is a very exciting time at Havieron as drilling accelerates to define the potential scale of the deposit and preliminary work begins to determine potential mining methods,” Greatland Gold’s chief executive, Gervaise Heddle, said in a separate statement.
Newcrest, which is also the world’s No. 3 gold producer by market value, has been aggressively searching for juniors with appealing assets to jointly develop.
The Paterson region hosts several large gold and/or copper deposits such as Nifty, Winu and Newcrest’s Telfer.
The world’s second-largest mining company, Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO), is very invested in the area as well. Its recent application for nearly 30 exploration licenses has sparked a stampede into adjacent lots by other explorers, who see the miner’s aggressive activity as an indicator of a highly promising find.