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Rockfire Resources has announced a 515 per cent increase in gold ounces at its Plateau project in North Queensland to more than 200,000 ounces of gold.

Plateau is within the company’s Lighthouse tenement area about 50km south-east of Charters Towers.

The company said the overall gold envelope at Plateau held an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 11.4 million tonnes at 0.6 g/t gold and 4 g/t silver – or 208,278 ounces of gold and 1.5 million ounces of silver (using a cut-off grade of 0.2 g/t gold).

This represents a 515 per cent increase in gold ounces since the company’s maiden JORC mineral resource was reported in July 2019.

Rockfire has highlighted the opportunity to quickly bring on a low-cost, open-cut mine targeting a portion of the resource within 100m of the surface.

This stands at 1.4 million tonnes at 1.2 g/t gold and 8.8 g/t silver for 53,336 ounces of gold and 390,000 ounces of silver (using a 0.5g/t cut-off).

It said it was ‘working vigorously’ to pursue this opportunity.

The fact that Plateau lies within 50km of several operating gold processing plants could minimise capital costs for mine development.

Chief executive officer David Price said the outstanding resource upgrade demonstrated the quality of the Plateau asset.

“I am particularly pleased that we have delineated near-surface gold, at an average grade of 1.2 g/t gold,” he said.

“This represents real potential for Rockfire to achieve its ambition of near-term, open-cut gold production whilst the deposit continues to be expanded through further exploration.”

Within 200m to the north of Plateau, rock chip sampling had returned 12.10 g/t gold, he said. And 200m south of Plateau, rocks had returned 6.69 g/t gold. Both areas are undrilled.

“The depth potential of Plateau remains wide open for a significant discovery,” Mr Price said.

“Rockfire has only drilled two holes at depth and both have intersected good gold grades. BPL041 hit 9.2 g/t gold at 409m below surface and hole BPL040, hit 2.5 g/t gold at 639.25m depth.

“These intercepts are 175 m apart and are considered by Rockfire geologists to be an outstanding success and bode very well for a significant gold discovery.”

The company is planning additional shallow drilling in the top 100m from surface to infill and extend near-surface gold.

Deep drilling at Plateau is not expected until a gravity survey, planned for April 2021, is completed. This survey is being designed to confirm a target at depths beyond 500m.