Analysts have declared Excelsior Gold the “prime target” for Norton Gold Fields as the Chinese-owned miner eyes strategic acquisitions north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Norton, acquired by China’s Zijin Mining Group for $229 million this year, plans to double production to 300,000ozpa within five years.

BBY senior resources analyst Mike Harrowell declared Australia’s unofficial gold capital “ripe for consolidation”, with Norton to be a key player backed by the $12.5 billion Zijin.

Excelsior has defined 953,000oz of gold resources within 20km of Norton’s 3.3Mtpa Paddington mill.

“Excelsior Gold should represent the first-choice logical acquisition for Zijin,” Mr Harrowell said.

“Excelsior’s tenement package is immediately north of Norton’s ground and lies along the main structural trend linking Paddington to Aphrodite in the north.

“Metallurgy suggests the ore is free milling, and given the geology is similar to Paddington, should be suited to the Paddington mill.”

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