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After intersecting a new high grade gold lode at its Kat Gap Project, Western Australian gold exploration and development company, Classic Minerals Limited (ASX:CLZ) has shifted its focus to preparing the project for production.

The Kat Gap Gold Project is part of the group’s Forrestania Gold Project (FGP), located about 50 kilometres to the south-east of FGP’s Lady Ada and Lady Magdalene, where the main thrust of exploration at the Forrestania belt has taken place to date.

Sifting soil in water through the grate in search of gold concept.

The recent major discovery at the 100% owned Kat Gap tenements saw Classic identify very significant high-grade gold intersections, making it the main focus of Classic’s exploration, which designated Kat Gap as its “flagship project”.

The company recently completed a total of 21 holes for 1,304m at Kat Gap, in a continuation of the infill and extensional drilling program interrupted by the onset of COVID-19, reporting a new very high-grade intersection out into the granite.

The new intersection really bodes well for Classic’s future drilling programs that will be conducted out in the granite following up the historical auger geochemical anomalies.

With strong grades and near-surface mineralisation, as well as evidence of new zones outside the original drilling perimeters, there is now the option to fast track Kat Gap to early production.

Gekko Processing Plant

The company announced on Monday that it has secured a gold gravity processing plant to be used for onsite processing of gold ore, an important part of management’s plans to bring Kat Gap into production in the near term.

Classic owns a 100% interest in the gold rights on the Kat Gap tenements, which are located approximately 120 kilometres south-east of Southern Cross, WA and has an existing 93,000 ounce JORC Resource with strong exploration upside and scope for high-grade open pit mining.

The equipment secured is a Gekko gold gravity processing plant. Gekko are world leaders in the manufacture of gold processing plant and machinery with their plants boasting small footprints and low environmental impact.

An added attraction to Classic is that the Australian-made Gekko plant is modular and mounted on containerised elements providing for scalability and ease of modification.

Gekko Processing Plant

The plant has a 30 tonne per hour capacity and is scalable to a Gekko Python plant with a processing capacity of 250 tonnes per hour.

Also, the mobility associated with the modular construction enables Classic to locate the plant adjacent to the ore body which further minimises cartage and processing costs.

Production soon to commence

Classic’s purchase of the two-stage gravity concentration plant from Gekko will be provided fully refurbished to new condition. The two-part plant will form the basis of the processing facility to be set up and operated by Classic at its Kat Gap gold deposit.

Classic is now on track to set-up, commission and test the Gekko plant and commence processing of the gold-rich ore at Kat Gap.

The Gekko plant is ideally suited to processing Kat Gap ore which has a unique high gravity gold concentration.

The company will have the capability and capacity to commence production as soon as the mining approvals (MLA 74/249) have been granted.

In order to provide an immediate revenue stream, Classic has also commenced negotiations to toll treat any initial parcels of ore from Kat Gap, while the full-scale plant is configured to suit Kat Gap ore.

Indeed, it could be argued that the mix of promising exploration results, which have also indicated the prospect of significantly greater resource expansion than originally anticipated, combined with management’s decision to facilitate early-stage processing, positions the group for a market capitalisation based rerating.

Classic’s market capitalisation of approximately $20 million doesn’t capture the value of gold identified in ground, let alone the group’s exploration potential.

As a guide, if Classic were able to extract 50,000 ounces of Kat Gap’s 90,000 ounce resource, applying the current gold price (approximately A$2500 per ounce) and average production costs (approximately A$1300 per ounce) the company could net A$60 million.

Now that management is a master of its own destiny in terms of transitioning from explorer to producer, one would expect the company to attract a significantly higher market capitalisation.

This would translate into a considerable share price increase which is likely to see the company at least test its 12 month high, implying share price upside of 100% relative to Friday’s closing price.

All of Classic’s drill programs undertaken at FGP have yielded high grade gold hits and management is confident that this is a major gold camp containing significant undiscovered resources and it is on track to discover and delineate these ore bodies.