There is little not to love about the figures released on Valentine's Day. The mineral resource estimate has increased to 1.62 million ounces gold equivalent, represented by 1.3Moz gold and 59,000 tonnes of copper at a grade of 2.6 grams per tonne (gold equivalent). The underground gold equivalent grade is 5.2gpt.
About 60% of the gold, or 790,000 oz, and 36,000t of the copper metal is in the indicated category, for 980,000 ounces of gold equivalent.
These robust results are in a large part thanks to the aggressive way in which Medallion has drilled the project: nearly 44,000m of which contributed to the resource update since the company listed at the end of March in 2021.
Managing director Paul Bennett's enthusiasm is infectious: "That is a substantial update in terms of where we were when we listed. We have increased the gold content by 93% and the copper content by 238% and overall, on a gold equivalent basis, the metal content is up by 112%.
"It is a really significant milestone for us and we think we are close to, if not already at, critical mass to support the development of a long-life low-cost gold and copper operation in Ravensthorpe.
"The next step for us is to undertake further studies, and that work is under way right now and we expect it to be complete by the middle of the year.
"The key pieces of information that will come from that work will be the size and quality of the economic prize at Ravensthorpe, as well as parameters we can use to re-engage with regulators to get the permitting process moving again.
"In terms of confidence in the resource, 63% is in the indicated category, 75% of it is within 150m of surface, so it is largely amenable to open pit mining," Bennett said.
Bennett says that Medallion has done some preliminary optimisation work and expects that some infill drilling may have to be done during the course of 2023 in order to maximise the amount of indicated resource in the mining plan, which internally the company is targeting at least 800,000oz gold equivalent.
"That is the threshold we need to get to and we expect there will be another resource update at the end of 2023. That resource will then be the basis of a definitive feasibility study, which should enable us to give consideration to the development sometime in 2024," said Bennett.
Bennett admits that the project has involved an enormous amount of hard work and believes it is due to the perseverance and vision of the company's board and project teams that led to this result.
"It has demonstrated that if you invest in this asset it will deliver, as it is a well-endowed mineralised system, which has been overlooked for a long period of time." He adds that the 860,000oz gold equivalent increase in the mineral resource estimate in less than two years since listing has added 20oz per drill metre at a discovery cost of $15/oz (gold equivalent).
"It just needed the focus and investment. It certainly has delivered for us and I am increasingly confident there is going to be a mine down there in Ravensthorpe, which will be a great outcome for the local community and for our shareholders," Bennett said.
The deposit remains shallowly drilled and open in multiple directions with potential for further substantial growth.
Ravensthorpe has had a roller-coaster ride in recent years with the near-death experience of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine, and other stop-start operations.
"We want to make sure that if Kundip goes ahead, it is a robust development and it has a long life. We believe it is low-cost so it can operate in most commodity pricing environments. We want it to have a long-term positive impact on the local community," Bennett said.
Historically, previous owner Tectonic Resources discovered base metals 9km to the south of the Kundip Mining Centre at the Trilogy prospect.
The assets were then acquired by Silverlake Resources but the Ravensthorpe tenements did not get prioritised due to a raft of competing corporate priorities.
"Silverlake sold the asset to us in 2016 and we operated it for four years in a private setting and did met testing and drilling to look at the structural controls at Kundip.
"We did a lot around permitting and once we were comfortable that all of those things made sense, we were in a position to raise equity and get drilling and make it larger. Scale gives us the ability to manage risk" Bennett said.
Summing up, Bennett stresses the latest numbers reinforce Medallion's belief that Ravensthorpe is an asset of scale and significance with enormous potential.
"It is the culmination of a huge effort by the Medallion team and I pay credit to their professionalism and perseverance. The company is now well advanced on a trajectory to achieve critical mass to support the development of a long-life, low-cost gold and copper business in Ravensthorpe.
"We expect further growth in the size and confidence of resources as we plan more drilling throughout 2023 both at the Kundip Mining Centre and across our highly prospective tenement package," Bennett said.