The mining services company will undertake phase 1 and 2 ore sorting test work, as well as design, management and supervision, to help the potential progression of Korbel towards a future low-strip, bulk-mineable, heap-leach operation.
Global engineering and project delivery group DRA is a specialist in independent engineering and construction support for ore-sorting technology.
The objective is to asses the suitability of sorting applicable to Korbel's mineralisation, as well as the impact of the ore-sorting circuit in a future flowsheet.
Nova said this would include completion of a dynamic simulation in phase 2 to establish ore-sorting stockpile and requirements for optimal CAPEX, OPEX, operability and maintainability of the process plant.
The Australia-based exploration company recognises the need for these types of studies early in the development process, as they can keep the project moving towards pre-feasibility. The sorting study will run concurrently with its 2020 resource drilling programme.
Nova is considering different processing options at Korbel: heap leach, carbon-in-pulp or a combination of the two.
In 2019, Nova established 2.5Moz of inferred gold resources at Korbel blocks A and B, as well as gold leach recoveries averaging 76% at the deposit.
Nova managing director Avi Kimelman said he was pleased with the progress the company is making in "unlocking" the Estelle gold district, by increasing resources and fast-tracking the block B ‘starter pit' to development.
The Estelle project area, which comprises multiple prospects, is located around 110 miles (177km) northwest of Anchorage.