One small speck of gold has miners wanting to blast an old, flooded pit

This tiny speck of gold found in a drill core taken more than 100 metres deep near Pine Creek has excited a mining company. Picture: PNX Metals Ltd.

This tiny speck of gold found in a drill core taken more than 100 metres deep near Pine Creek has excited a mining company. Picture: PNX Metals Ltd.

It was only a tiny speck of gold really.

So small it needed a metal pointer and a red circle to make sure you could see it.

But it was enough to excite yet another mining company to try their luck on an abandoned gold mine in the harsh outback conditions of the Northern Territory.

Public comments close today on the latest attempt to cash in on a super-high gold price and reach the ore the earlier miners had been unable to reach.

Even that speck of gold, contained in a drill core surrounded by a lot of tough quartz, was paraded before investors of the South Australian-based PNX Metals Ltd earlier in the year.

The company's managing director James Fox said: "The presence of visible gold in the first diamond hole we have drilled at Tally Ho is particularly pleasing ..."

Tally Ho is a gold-bearing quartz vein in the Fountain Head project, near Hayes Creek between Adelaide River and Pine Creek.

To help drain the flood mine pit, the company plans to use evaporators like these.

To help drain the flood mine pit, the company plans to use evaporators like these.

Pine Creek is famous for its gold, some say there is still as much gold there as possibly anywhere else in the world.

But the gold is not the big nugget variety but the little specks as shown in the picture.

Gold mining in the NT is a numbers game, you need to extract a lot of ore for a little bit of gold.

There's lots of gold there, but there's a lot of rock as well.

Only when the price is high, like it is right now, is it economic to dig for it.

Fountain Head is located on Ban Ban Springs Station about six kilometres east of the Stuart Highway.

Cosmo Gold Mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold is only 15km away.

Earlier this year, Kirkland Lake Gold suspended test mining and processing at its Cosmo Mine and Union Reefs processing plant at Pine Creek.

The suspension impacted about 250 jobs, 60 per cent of those are locally based.

PNX wants to dewater the existing open pit at Fountain Head, make the pit bigger and build a processing plant there.

Map: PNX Metals Ltd.

Map: PNX Metals Ltd.

It plans to extract gold from the ore using heap leaching to a produce gold dore, which can have a mix of metals in it.

Mining at Fountain Head was most recently undertaken from 2007 to 2009 by GBS Gold however the site has a long history of gold mining and exploration dating back to the 1800's.

Big evaporators will fire water into the air to help in the dewatering process so the exposed pit can be drilled and blasted to extract the ore.

Between 50-70 workers will be needed for the early stages of the work.

The Fountain Head project is only expected to take a few years but provided the kickstart the mining company is looking for its bigger Hayes Creek zinc-gold-silver project which includes the Iron Blow and Mt Bonnie deposits which were acquired in 2014 from Newmarket Gold NT Holdings Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Canadian-listed Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd.

The Fountain Head processing plant and facilities would be used on the Hayes Creek development.

The NT EPA directed the company to apply for an environment impact statement, on which public comments close today

This story One small speck of gold has miners wanting to blast an old, flooded pit first appeared on Katherine Times.