Japanese firms Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) and Sumitomo Corp (SC) have discovered a gold deposit at their jointly-held Pogo mine in Alaska, US.

The deposit, named East Deep, was identified 1000ft north-east of the main Liese gold deposit and is estimated to hold 1.2 million ounces of gold.

The orebody brings the total resources and reserves at the mine to 12.3 million tonnes, with an average gold grade of 0.366 ounces per short tonnes, and 4.9 million ounces of gold content.

New access drives to the E1 orebody are expected to be developed this year to speed up the start of production.

SMM plans to continue the drilling programme to explore mineralisations in extensions of the East Deep deposit, as it holds the potential for additional ore.

The company also plans to continue the current level of annual production of 10-11t at the Pogo mine, in which it holds an 85% stake.