The company that made a remarkable discovery containing more than 9000 ounces and $15 million of gold specimens at a Goldfields mine last week is being asked whether it will be able to repeat the find.

Found 500m underground in a cut of the Beta Hunt gold mine near Kambalda, the gold recovered in just four days was about two months of RNC Minerals’ average gold production.

The discovery, including two of the biggest gold specimens publicly reported, graded about 2300 grams per tonne, compared with an average mining grade at the operation of about 3g/t.

On a conference call on Tuesday night WA time, RNC director of mining operations Kevin Small said exploration was required to get a better understanding of whether more high-grade coarse gold could be uncovered.

“The material we expect to mine in the immediate vicinity of this discovery is going to be a lot higher (grade),” he said.

“It’s a new discovery … it’s more like an exploration program on this level ... to get a better understanding of the rock types involved. If you find a few of these on a regular basis, you’re on to something, but from a one-off you can’t really predict that.

“It’s a significant event and time will tell if we can repeat it.”

“Our goal is to try get the reserve grade to around 4-5g/t, where it makes it quite profitable for an underground operation in Western Australia and build a significant resource to plan a long-life mine.”

It is not the first time RNC and its Australian mining subsidiary Salt Lake Mining, which RNC bought out for $C11m in 2016, have struck high-grade coarse gold.

There are stories of miners in Kambalda pocketing specimens from Beta Hunt when it opened as a nickel mine 40 years ago, when gold prices were falling.

Kalgoorlie Geologist Darryl Mapleson, who worked in Kambalda’s nickel mines in the 1990s, said the discovery was “incredibly exciting” and likened it to finding a jewellery shop underground, but added it would be tough to target the high-grade zones because of their anomalous nature.

“Obviously in terms of the industry it’s generated a lot of excitement,” Mr. Mapleson said. “When you think about the footprint of these things it was a 3m by 3m drive, they’re very small and isolated.

“I’m sure these boys are putting together geological models for exploration to try and find those, but they’d be very difficult to target.”

In recent months RNC has had the mine up for sale, but it removed exclusivity from a bidder in the wake of the discovery in the hopes of driving a higher price or raising new money for Beta Hunt by dusting off plans to spin-out the mine into a new company or as a joint venture.

Image: Stock