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Alice Queen has kicked off a scoping study to assess the economics of a potential open-pit operation at the historic Horn Island gold mine in the Torres Strait.

The existing inferred resource of 7.9 Mt grading at 1.9 g/t gold for 492,000oz for an area adjacent to the abandoned pit will be updated as part of the process.

“We are elated to be launching a scoping study to assess the potential of the Horn Island open pit resource, part of the excluded zones outside of our St Barbara joint venture, to assess a potential future mining operation,” Alice Queen managing director Andrew Buxton said.

“It has taken a significant amount of time and effort to reach this stage and we hope it will validate the exploration work to date.

“Our recently announced interim RC Infill results give us confidence that this will be the case.

“It is also timely to remind our shareholders that we start this study with the backdrop of significant existing infrastructure at Horn Island.”

The former gold mine at Horn Island ceased operation in 1989.

Other parts of the island are also being explored under Alice Queen’s joint venture with St Barbara.

St Barbara is spending $4 million over three years to earn 70 per cent of areas outside of the excluded zones.

Mr Buxton said Peter Fairfield would oversee the scoping study for the open pit proposal, with input from GR Engineering Services, TOMRA Ore Sorting and Dale Sims.

The company believed they would deliver a comprehensive and high-quality report which would significantly advance the project, he said.