THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The Resources Roadhouse spoke with VRX Silica managning director Bruce Maluish about the company’s recent happenings.
BRUCE MALUISH managing director VRX Silica (ASX: VRX)
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The Resources Roadhouse spoke with VRX Silica managning director Bruce Maluish about the company’s recent happenings.
BRUCE MALUISH managing director VRX Silica (ASX: VRX)
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: If the quality of an exploration house’s assets is reflected by the calibre of its joint venture partners and investors, then Peel Mining (ASX: PEX) could well be sitting on something quite significant. By Mark Fraser
The Western Australian company with a New South Wales focus has attracted the attention of some pretty interesting names to its project portfolio – including the giant Japanese resources house Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (JOGMEC) and mid-tier base metals mining house CBH Resources, which was once listed on the ASX but is now owned by Japan’s Toho Zinc Company.
One of Australia’s largest domestically-own gold miners, St Barbara (ASX: SBM), also has a 13 per cent stake in the company, while another of its major shareholders (15%) is Hampton Hill Mining (ASX: HHM), whose chairman is none other than legendary WA geologist Joshua Pitt, the man who first identified the mineralised potential of the rich polymetallic Golden Grove mine in WA’s Mid West after discovering Gossan Hill back in the early 1970s.
Over the past seven years Peel has established three major project areas in the Cobar Basin.
At the moment it seems the most advanced is its wholly-owned Wagga Tank-Southern Lights high grade zinc-lead-silver system, where the company has established a maiden resource – using a 3.5 zinc equivalent cut off – of 3.8 million tonnes at 5.5 per cent zinc, 2.1 per cent lead, 75 grams per tonne silver, 0.27 per cent copper and 0.31g/t gold (or a 9.2% zinc equivalent).
Located around 150 kilometres south west of the mining hub of Cobar, Wagga Tank-Southern Lights, which remains open along strike and downdip, is hosted within volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) mineralisation and is currently undergoing a resource estimation update.
Once this is completed it is expected scoping and pre-feasibility due diligence will quickly kick in.
During the recent RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, Peel Mining managing director Rob Tyson said the new resource work would be more akin to, “what you see in the gold mining industry for open pit”.
“We are actually running it through a stope optimisation process to essentially give us a mining resource eventually,” he said.
“The drilling we’ve been doing had … two aims essentially – to increase the quality of the resource, so we are hoping for a significant jump in the amount of indicated resource classification for this next estimate, and we are also hoping to improve the scale of the system.
“And we’ve had a couple of exploration successes as part of our last drill program that we think will put us in good stead there.
“So we think this is going to turn into a classic sort of VMS setting. It’ll grow, so long as we keep the drill rig turning.”
Meanwhile, some 50 kilometresto the north east of Wagga Tank-Southern Lights is Mallee Bull, where past drilling has revealed high grade copper intercepts, including:
14.1 metres at 4.27 per cent copper, 51g/t silver and 0.25g/t gold from 262m;
11m at 9.02 per cent copper, 114g/t silver and 0.37g/t gold from 296m;
53m at 4.08 per cent copper, 42g/t silver and 0.22g/t gold from 470m;
69m at 3.48 per cent copper, 34g/t silver and 0.14g/t gold from 533m; and
84m at 4.42 per cent copper, 38g/t silver and 0.14g/t gold from 575m.
A 50:50 joint venture with CBH, which has already spent $12.8 million on the undertaking, Mallee Bull, currently enjoys a resource – using a 1% copper equivalent cut off – of 6.8 million tonnes at 1.8 per cent copper, 31g/t silver, 0.4g/t gold, 0.6 per cent lead and 0.6 per cent zinc (or a 2.6% copper equivalent).
During his RIU presentation, Tyson said Peel was in discussions with its JV partner regarding the project’s path forward following CBH’s recent decision to put its Endeavor base metals operation on care and maintenance after 37 years’ of more or less continual production.
“It (Mallee Bull) is really a significant copper system – it’s well defined already, but it is in need of a drill out,” he noted.
“Some of these intercepts are as good as you will see anywhere. In fact at the time they were reported they were amongst the best in the world.
“It seems a lot of people have forgotten about Mallee Bull – we certainly haven’t, and we’d like to get back in there, drill it out and then bring it to the scoping phase.”
Peel’s third major priority is the development of Wirlong, which sits around 75 km to the south east of Cobar and is currently half-owned by JOGMEC.
So far the Japanese resources house has spent $7.9 million helping evolve the ore body, where the rig has returned intercepts of:
9m at 3.29 per cent copper and 18g/t silver from 70m;
27m at 5.3 per cent copper and 23g/t silver from 286m;
31m at 3.19 per cent copper and 11g/t silver from 299m;
9m at 8 per cent copper, 17g/t silver and 0.21g/t gold from 616m; and
17m at 4.59 per cent copper and 8g/t silver from 738m.
Tyson said Wirlong was effectively a Cobar-style copper system, with the chalcopyrite-rich mineralisation defined from surface to 600m depth and open over a 500m strike length.
“We’ve just done some drilling and we’ve got some assays pending, and that drilling is designed to test a new structural model,” he explained.
“And I think the signs are very good – we now understand what controls the mineralisation, so we are looking to push that into a resource estimate in the June quarter.”
Although the Cobar region has a long and established mining history – having yielded some 2.5 million tonnes of copper, 4.8 million tonnes of zinc,2.8 million tonnes of lead, 4,000 tonnes of silver and 200 tonnes of gold over 150 years – Tyson firmly believes there is still further wealth to be found in this part of the world.
“Most of our ground holdings are in the southern part of the Cobar Basin and we believe that there’s heaps of upside,” he told RIU delegates.
“It was previously viewed as a mature exploration destination – our work has proven it’s anything but.”
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: As part of its corporate brief, the diversified Western Australian resources house Neometals (ASX: NMT) says it “innovatively develops opportunities in minerals and advanced materials essential for a sustainable future”. By Mark Fraser
With a focus on the energy storage megatrend, this strategy “focuses on de-risking and developing long life projects with strong partners and integrating down the value chain to increase margins and return value to shareholders”.
While most junior ASX-listed companies like to talk themselves up in such a manner, Neometals seems to be delivering on its promises, with three core projects currently gaining significant traction.
The first involves lithium-ion battery recycling, with the company having devised a proprietary process for recovering cobalt and other valuable materials from spent and scrap lithium batteries, and now in the process of pilot testing the technology with the help of potential German Joint Venture partner SMS Group.
Second, there’s the development of the wholly-owned Barrambie titanium and vanadium project in WA, which involves the mining and processing of some of the world’s highest-grade hard rock titanium-vanadium ore.
As it stands a decision regarding the go-ahead for this undertaking is expected to be made by mid-2021 with possible Chinese JV partner Institute of Multipurpose Utilisation of Mineral Resources Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.
Finally, there’s the lithium refinery play, in which Neometals is co-funding the evaluation studies for the establishment of a lithium refinery to supply lithium hydroxide to the lithium battery industry with potential venture partner Manikaran Power.
Underpinning this project will be a binding life-of-mine annual off take option for 57,000 tonnes per annum of the company’s Mt Marion six per cent spodumene concentrate.
And as if all this wasn’t enough, the diversified junior has recently added another string to its portfolio bow – this time involving nickel.
While this base metal hasn’t always been associated with sustainability, this looks set to change with the expected growth in the electric vehicle market, wherein nickel sulphate be a vital feedstock.
A few weeks before the recent RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, Neometals announced RC drilling at its wholly owned Mt Edwards brownfields nickel and lithium project in Western Australia’s Widgiemooltha Dome area – which sits some 40 kilometres south east of Kambalda and 90km south of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA – had returned some encouraging nickel numbers from the Armstrong deposit, with the key ones being 6 metres at 8.11 per cent (including 5m at 9.63%), 10m at 1.65 per cent (with 4m at 2.42%) and 3m at 1.07 per cent.
Meanwhile, significant intercepts were also found within wide mineralised zones of disseminated nickel, with assays of the base metal including 34m at 1.94 per cent and 24m at 1.13 per cent.
In addition, another 1m at 1.18 per cent nickel was intersected at a just-acquired tenement that sits along strike from Mincor Resources’ (ASX: MCR) Cassini mineral resource.
According to Neometals, drilling at Armstrong focused on testing the down plunge component of an interpreted nickel sulphide channel located north of the previously mined open pit.
In the existing data from earlier drilling circa 2006, the association between the mineralised zones and the ultramafic-basalt contact was unclear, and areas of high-grade nickel located in the basalt below this contact also warranted investigation.
It was previously interpreted that there were some very high grade nickel (above 10%) zones at depth, which were shoots of remobilised nickel along fractures, joints and fault zones.
As it stands the project, which consists of 46 granted and pending mining tenements spanning approximately 50km of strike length over the Widgiemooltha Dome, has indicated and inferred resources of 7.718 million tonnes grading 1.7 per cent nickel for around 130,000t of contained metal in 11 deposits.
During his presentation at the RIU show, Neometals’ chief executive and managing director Chris Reed said the company planned to target larger, lower grade deposits “to identify the high-grade massive matrix ore within that and to develop a pipeline of short lead time projects, and to make new discoveries, ready for the next boom”.
“And we can see there will be a boom in the nickel price – there absolutely has to be,” he said.
“These batteries need sulphate (and) the normal way to make it is to start off with like 49s (the highly permeable nickel alloy), or almost 49s, nickel powder and nickel metal.
“It’s very, very hard to make that. You wouldn’t be able to make it out of nickel pig iron, so there will be a boom – my guess is in the next three to five years.
“So, we will align this project for that development timeline.”
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Two Western Australian-based gold focused companies – one a sibling miner and the other an exploration house – are concentrating their field efforts in areas which in the past have yielded some monster discoveries, but nevertheless remained relatively under-explored. By Mark Fraser
In the case of Matsa Resources (ASX: MAT), the focus is on the Lake Carey district in the Laverton region of WA’s Eastern Goldfields, the home of the world class Granny Smith, Wallaby and Sunrise Dam gold mines.
Meanwhile, Prodigy Gold (ASX: PRX) has a significant land holding predominantly in the Northern Territory part of the Tanami Desert, where the 14.2 million gold ounce Callie mine is living proof that this is one of Australia’s most prospective exploration jurisdictions.
Matsa holds 563 square kilometres of real estate and has already generated surplus cash via mining – with the assistance of an ore purchase agreement with Sunrise Dam owner AngloGold Ashanti – at its Red Dog, Red October and Fortitude deposits.
Prodigy Gold, on the other hand, controls some 30,000 square kilometres of real estate, in which it has wholly-owned field projects as well as a number of joint ventures, with two of its partners being Australia’s biggest domestically-owned gold producer Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) and the US giant Newmont Goldcorp (NYSC: NEM).
During the recent RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, both outfits indicated they had not only been keeping busy during 2019, but were now looking to implement active agendas over the next 12 months.
Matsa executive chairman Paul Poli said his company would continue mining at Red October, bring Fortitude’s stage two operations into place, start mining studies for its Devon deposit and continue drilling at the Fortitude North, Devon and Olympic prospects.
Located about 32 kilometres south-south east of Leonora, the 550 metre deep, narrow veined and structurally-controlled Red October has historically produced around 342,000 ounces of gold from ore averaging six grams per tonne.
As it stands it currently has total indicated and inferred resources of 446,000 tonnes at 6.9g/t for 99,000 ounces, with some 85,000 ouncees of this, at the higher grade of 13.6g/t, being underground.
The deposit also has significant exploration upside, with diamond drilling returning numbers at the Red October Shear Zone like 1.6m at 36.9g/t, 4.32m at 16.3g/t, 2.84m at 15.95g/t and 6.3m at 4.54g/t as well as bonanza grades from the North Decline of 0.91m at 181.5g/t, 1.33m at 40.1g/t and 0.8m at 248g/t .
Between July last year – when the mining of ore started at Red October – and January 2020, Matsa has been building its bank balance via the production of almost 2,600 ounces from 19,912 tonnes of dirt grading some 4.54g/t.
In addition, it generated a $5.4 million cash surplus at its Red Dog mine to the south as well as another $700,000 from the Fortitude trial mine.
Earlier this year Matsa told the market its Fortitude stage two due diligence indicated the company could establish a 54,400 ounce gold operation for $6.6 million to generate a $21.8 million cash surplus over 22 months at an operating cash cost of $1,682 per ounce (assuming an average Australian gold price of $2,150/oz).
Poli suggested this was all possible because of his company’s arrangement with AngloGold Ashanti.
“We’ve got a terrific relationship through a memorandum of understanding that we signed about 18 months ago,” he said.
“But more importantly they are sponsoring us – they are incubating us, assisting us in achieving our goals.
“At Red October we have a five year ore purchase agreement in place … so we’ve got 4.5 odd years of ore delivery agreement in place.
“It’s a fantastic agreement that we have got (and) we are fully exposed to the rising gold price.”
Although the Laverton district was home to some of Australia’s biggest gold mines, Poli suggested that Lake Carey, which sits within the Laverton tectonic zone, still had plenty of exploration upside.
“We think this is a fantastic area to explore,” he told RIU delegates.
“We know that this has been quite poorly explored because of the lake that occupies a fair bit of our ground.
“Last November we embarked on quite a sizeable drill program and that drill program is still continuing today.”
During his RIU presentation, Prodigy Gold managing director Matt Briggs also indicated 2020 would be a busy year in the field for the junior.
The company is aggressively exploring four wholly-owned projects – Bluebrush, Hyperion, Tregony and North Arunta – that sit in the same corridor as the lucrative Callie operation owned by Newmont Goldcorp.
So far Prodigy Gold has established an indicated and inferred resource of 15.7 million tonnes at 2g/t for 1.1 million ounces gold, with 4.93 million tonnes at 1.96g/t for 310,000 ounces being at the Hyperion and Seuss prospects.
It may also on the brink of significantly adding to this inventory via its three Joint Ventures with a trio of successful mining houses.
Newcrest is looking to spend $12 million to earn 75 per cent of Euro, where aircore drilling of large scale targets is anticipated for 2020.
Last year the RC rig returned gold intercepts of 2m at 12g/t, 8m at 1.9g/t and 36m at 0.65g/t – with this latter intersection including 20m at 0.95g/t.
So far, the JV partners have defined a 1.4km long gold-in-oxide target.
Meanwhile, Newmont Goldcorp is also looking to pump $12 million into the ground at Tobruk, which sits just 6km south west of its 500,000 ounces per annum Callie mine.
Under the terms of the JV agreement, the gold giant will earn 70 per cent of the project and pay a further $1.5 million at sign on and an additional $1 million if it elects to proceed to the second phase of the project’s development.
At the time of Brigg’s RIU presentation, some 675 soil samples had been gathered from Tobruk for testing.
The junior’s other significant JV is with the Australia mining house Independence Group (ASX: IGO) at Lake Mackay, where RC and diamond drilling is set to test deeper base metal targets during the first half of 2020.
Aside from gold, the project area has also revealed signs of copper, cobalt, manganese and nickel.
Briggs told RIU delegates that the Tanami Desert contained “great prospective ground” with the potential for “major discoveries to be made in that part of the world”.
“Of the 15 deposits that have been discovered in the Tanami, 13 of them stick out of the ground and were predominantly discovered with soil sampling,” he noted.
“In spite of those discoveries with soil sampling, (there has been) very limited bedrock drilling.
Brigg’s said Prodigy Gold’s strategy was to keep the shallower exploration ground for itself and to JV “earlier stage exploration, exploration under cover, and other commodities” to the right partners.
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: The mining sector looks set to be a leading force in the looming green revolution as the current crop of explorers seek to establish projects designed to contribute to a low carbon future. By Mark Fraser
During the 2020 RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, a large number of companies made it clear that they have a firm eye on issues pertaining to sustainability as they go about developing their respective mineral assets.
In particular, they are looking to help supply the electric vehicle and wind turbine markets with the metals they need as reliance on fossil fuels across the globe continues to dampen.
During his market update at the start of day two, Canaccord Genuity head of mining research Reg Spencer reconfirmed everyone’s suspicions that the prices for some of the metals used in modern cars – including nickel and copper – had bottomed in 2020 but were expected to rally next year.
Then there were the niche minerals, which also look set to have their day over the next decade.
“I think most people will agree that the outlook for lithium and battery materials does remain positive,” Spencer said.
“The reduction of carbon emissions, especially from transport, does remain the key focus for the near term.”
Spencer said Canaccord was surprised at the lack of attention the rare earths sector was receiving from investors – especially as it was forecast that wind energy capacity would increase by 2,500 per cent between 2007 and 2030.
“Rare Earth permanent magnets are critical components for electric vehicle drive chains and wind turbine generators – and market dynamics are evolving significantly, with an increase in desire for ex-China supply and a tighter regulation of Chinese production,” Spencer continued.
“Now we expect demand to grow significantly … demand should more or less double over the next 10 years … and that will be primarily driven by electric vehicles and wind turbines.
“With these factors in play, and the changing dynamics of the supply-demand equation – and the potential for China to lose their tight grip on the rare earths market – we see opportunities for this particular sector over the next couple of years as well.”
During a later presentation, Northern Minerals managing director and chief executive George Bauk also wondered why the investment community seemed to be disinterested in rare earth stocks.
The company is currently developing its advanced Browns Range rare earths project, which straddles the Western Australian and Northern Territory borders in the Tanami region.
“That’s a bloody good question – why invest in Northern Minerals?” Bauk put to his audience.
“We’ve really got to get people back into believing in rare earths and get the equity markets to back it.
“We haven’t had the moment, if you like, to get people interested in it.
“The governments are doing things and working on it – I’m not quite sure what the event has got to be to get people back on the screens and buy rare earth stocks.
“But if you are getting a bit sick and bored with gold stories, come and have a look at Northern Minerals and rare earths.”
Meanwhile, RareX executive director Jeremy Robinson said it was important that another Australian company follow in the footsteps of Lynas Corporation and develop a significant rare earths project outside of China (which has one major mine that currently produces about 80% of the world’s output) to ensure a supply chain remained in place for the West.
Like Northern Minerals, RareX has a project in WA – that being the company’s Cummins Range play in the state’s East Kimberley.
“There is only one major (rare earths) development in the world outside of China and that’s Lynas,” Robinson said.
“And Lynas sells a lot of its product into its own refinery, and into Japan and Europe.
“So what you see is a very risky supply chain there for the West, especially in military operations (which would) all get shut down.
“You see a lot of talk about this in the press and I think you are going to see a lot of action in places like the US and Australia.”
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: A couple of nickel projects in Western Australia – one containing sulphides and the other made up of lateritic material – look set to see the light of day after some two decades of sitting on the drawing board. By Mark Fraser
Possibly the most advanced is the West Musgrave joint venture between exploration house Cassini Resources (ASX: CZI) and miner Oz Minerals (ASX: OZL), where the proponents are looking to develop the Nebo-Babel sulphide deposit – an ore body that caused quite a bit of market excitement when it was initially discovered by Western Mining back in 2000.
Meanwhile, the second is the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP), which is being developed by Ardea Resources (ASX: ARL) and contains a globally significant nickel and cobalt resource.
Like Nebo-Babel, the KNP has been around for a long time, having initially been established by Heron Resources in light of the WA nickel laterite boom of the late 1990s. Later, between 2005-2009, it was the subject of pre-feasibility due diligence by Vale Inco.
Shortly before the 2020 RIU Explorers conference – at which both juniors presented – Cassini completed its own pre-feasibility study for the West Musgrave project, which is located 100 kilometres north-east of Warburton, wherein a solid case for the mine’s development was made.
The PFS indicated its maiden ore reserve of 220 million tonnes at 0.33 per cent nickel and 0.36 per cent copper for a contained 720,000t of nickel and 790,000t of copper could support a mine life of 26 years – some 18 years more than suggested by scoping due diligence conducted in 2017.
The project scale of 10 million tonnes per annum remained unchanged, with target annual life of mine production set at 22,000tpa of nickel and 28,000tpa of copper concentrates.
Higher concentrate production – 27,000tpa of nickel and 33,000tpa of copper – was forecast for the first five years, which could see a six year project payback period from a decision to mine or around a three year one from the start of production.
According to brokerage Hartleys, the project was significantly de-risked by the detailed metallurgical test work, which delivered base metal recoveries at the upper end of expectations and provided good (industry standard) concentrate grades of around 10-11% nickel and 25-26% copper.
Moreover, the PFS also suggested improved operating costs thanks to increased by-product credits (including cobalt, gold, silver and platinum group metals), the use of hybrid renewable diesel power generation and innovative processing solutions such as the use of vertical roller mills, which reduces power consumption by around 15% and provides an estimated 2% improvement in nickel recoveries.
The large scale, longer life operation has come with a higher capital cost, which is now expected to be $995 million instead of the scoping capex range of $730-800 million.
Under the terms of the JV with Oz Minerals, Cassini is not required to contribute to the project capital costs until the delivery of a bankable feasibility study. As it stands the JV partners are looking to start construction sometime in 2021-22 and operations by 2023.
During the RIU show, Cassini managing director Richard Bevan said while Oz Minerals ran the PFS, the junior partner (30%) did a number of work packages.
“Oz really approached this as an operator of this asset,” he explained.
“They spent in excess of $50 million on the PFS and a number of the work packages are well passed the PFS stage, especially those that represent the potential risks of this project around metallurgy and resources.”
Meanwhile, just north of the mining hub of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Ardea is carrying out its own due diligence on the KNP, which currently contains a resource of 773Mt at 0.7% nickel and 0.05% cobalt for 5.6Mt of contained nickel and 405,000t of contained cobalt.
Within the KNP holdings sits Goongarrie, which has resources of 216Mt at 0.71% nickel and 0.06% copper for 1.5Mt of contained nickel and 130,700t of contained cobalt.
Although the history of nickel laterite projects in WA has been fairly dismal, Ardea is confident it will not fall into the same metallurgical traps as some of its predecessors like BHP (at Ravensthorpe) and Anaconda Nickel (at Murrin Murrin).
During his RIU presentation the company’s chief executive, Andrew Penkethman, pointed out Goongarrie’s ore was goethitic which, he said, was the preferred feedstock for pressure acid leaching circuits.
“It’s a crumbly iron rich material that contains the nickel and cobalt, it has low acid consumption and it can be mined and put through the process plant the same day,” he said.
Other deposits that had excess silica or clay, Penkethman noted, needed to be screened and then dried – in some cases for lengthy periods.
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: All of the planets seem to be lining up for Black Cat Syndicate (ASX: BC8) as it prepares to make the transition from explorer to miner in one of Western Australia’s most overlooked gold districts. By Mark Fraser
The company is in the throes of completing the feasibility work for its Bulong gold project, which sits just 25 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Since listing in early 2018, Black Cat has established a total resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 2.8 grams per tonne for 242,000 gold ounces and now plans to establish its Myhree mine as the operation’s baseload producer before extending mining activities to the nearby Queen Margaret, Melbourne United, Strathfield, Trump and Boundary ore bodies.
So far the feasibility work has been positive, with gold recoveries coming in at over 95 per cent and no environmental hiccups.
Furthermore, the barriers for getting Bulong into production are low.
Aside from the fact the company has granted mining leases in a highly prospective area that yielded 152,000 oz at 1 oz/t before World War I, the granted and pending 128 square km holdings are surrounded by some excellent infrastructure, including a major sealed road, mains power and a number of nearby mills that could treat its free milling ore.
Black Cat will also have access to a skilled workforce, being close to one of the country’s major mining hubs.
Importantly, it boasts a strong management team, including WA industry veterans Paul Chapman (non executive chairman) and Les Davis (non executive director) who founded the now-gone Silver Lake back in the 2000s and were instrumental in turning it into a highly successful WA gold miner.
So far the company has moved with almost lightning speed in developing its assets. Its maiden resource of 109,000 oz was established in the second half of 2018 and, by the end of last year, the drill bit had increased this to the above-mentioned 242,000 oz.
During the 2020 RIU Explorers Conference, Black Cat managing director Gareth Solly said the company had effective gone back to basics after listing just over two years ago.
“We were the first company to do effective exploration here this century – in fact I’d say we were the first company to do effective exploration here, and that’s partly because this is a land holding that no one has had in the past,” he noted.
“We are very active – over 66,000 metres (of drilling) in the first 22 months – and it’s been done with a very small team.
“All of the resources are currently still open … all of it is shallow, about 80% of it is in a potentially open pit mineable position.
“Given the location and other things like the gold price and the rest of the environment we can get started here very quickly. So we are trying to develop resources that are robust and credible.”
Although Black Cat has been focusing on the southern portion of its Bulong tenements, Solly indicated future exploration activities would be expanded to the north, covering the continuation of the Myhree-Boundary, Trump and Queen Margaret corridors which sit in what he called a Kanowna-style package.
Then there was Greater Woodline, where historical drilling had returned mouth-watering intercepts like 2m at 47.60g/t from 116m, 7m at 9.4g/t from 31m, 12m at 8.86g/t from 66m, 1m at 63.1g/t from 4m and 14m from 1.67% nickel from 70m.
If all goes to plan, Black Cat should complete its feasibility work by the end of the March quarter and reach a decision to mine by June.
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Stavely Minerals (ASX: SVY) was named winner of the 202 Craig Oliver award on Day two of the 2020 RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle.
The award is given to the ASX-listed resources company that is considered by the judging panel to exemplify an all-round excellence in several fields over the past year, including exploration, mining, corporate, market results, environment and community.
Accepting the award in front of a packed ballroom at The Esplanade Hotel, Stavely Minerals executive chairman Chris Cairns said he was blown away at receiving the gong.
“It is an honour to receive this award on behalf of the team at Stavely,” Cairns said.
“I must also acknowledge the outstanding list of other nominees for this year’s award.
“I think the phenomenal achievements currently being made across the Australian mining and exploration industry including some very exciting news of discoveries on both sides of the country and the incredible performance of the mid-tier gold sector in recent years is testament to the industry’s tenacity and resilience.”
Other companies nominated this year for the 2020 Craig Oliver Award were:
Alkane Resources (ASX: ALK)
A gold producer with a multi-commodity exploration and development portfolio.
Alkane’s projects are predominantly in the Central West region of New South Wales, but extend throughout Australia.
Bellevue Gold (ASX: BGL)
A West Australian gold explorer advancing the historic Bellevue gold mine.
In its day, the Bellevue mine was one of Australia’s highest-grade gold mines, producing 800,000 ounces at 15 grams per tonne gold from 1986 to 1997.
Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR)
A gold producer with Tier 1 mine and exploration projects in the underexplored and highly prospective Yamarna Greenstone Belt in Western Australia’s north-eastern Goldfields.
Gold Road officially opened the Gruyere gold mine (50:50 JV with Gold Fields) late last year.
Image Resources (ASX: IMA)
Australia’s newest minerals sands mining company, operating at its high-grade, zircon-rich Boonanarring project in the infrastructure rich North Perth Basin.
RIU Explorers Conference managing director Stewart McDonald told the packed auditorium Stavely Minerals was a deserved winner of the 2020 Craig Oliver Award.
“While all five nominees have all notched up significant achievements throughout 2019, Stavely Minerals was the one that really stood out not only in terms of its exceptional exploration success but also in terms of acquisitions, share market activity and leadership,” McDonald said.
“I congratulate Chris and the Stavely team with this prestigious win.”
THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Ardiden has declared its main focus to be progressively building gold resources at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Pickle Lake gold project in Ontario, Canada.
In September 2019, Ardiden announced a maiden Inferred high-grade 790,000 tonnes at 4.3 grams per tonne gold for 110,000 ounces of gold Resource for the Kasagiminnis gold deposit.
The Kasagiminnis deposit represents only a small section (600m) of a potential 20 kilometres strike length at the Pickle Lake gold project.
Subject to necessary approvals, Ardiden plans to recommence drilling at Kasagiminnis in winter 2019/20 to extend this resource.
In November 2019, Ardiden finalised interpretation of an airborne geophysical survey at the West Pickle prospect.
The West Pickle gold prospect includes more than 5km of prospective geological setting directly along strike to the nearby Central Patricia underground mine, which produced more than 600,000 ounces of gold at 12.5g/t gold.
The survey identified several priority targets for gold mineralisation, which may have been a bit surprising for previous owners who gave the deposit very little historical exploration attention, despite its location directly along strike of the high-grade Central Patricia and Pickle Crow gold mining centres.
The geophysical survey undertaken by Ardiden highlighted hidden structural discontinuities and multiple possible conduits for hydrothermal fluids at West Pickle.
These included two large and highly conductive geophysical responses detected at West Pickle in proximity to iron formations.
This gave the company encouragement as strong conductors are typically associated with pyrrhotite and gold mineralisation along strike at the Central Patricia Mine.
The survey also highlighted multiple magnetic lows at West Pickle in prospective Iron Formations that again raised company eyebrows as magnetic lows can indicate that gold-mineralising fluids may have altered the rock.
The West Pickle property has been explored by previous owners, however these searches focused mainly on nickel and copper.
Ardiden’s recent airborne magnetic and EM survey discovered complex geological structures which will form the base of future gold exploration by the company on the West Pickle property.
Concurrent with the West Pickle survey, Ardiden reviewed the historical drilling data available at South Limb gold prospect located immediately south of the Dona Lake underground gold mine that is currently being assessed by TSX-V listed Metals Creek Resources.
Ardiden owns eight kilometres of favourable geological formation directly along strike from the Dona Lake mine.
From the historical data at South Limb, Ardiden has outlined multiple targets that may provide opportunities for similar deep mineralised gold systems.
Drill targets are planned in a fold nose near drill hole 172-007, which reported 7.8g/t gold from 8m.
Drill targets are also planned on the southern iron formation to test known sulphide mineralisation.
Ardiden recently expanded its landholding at Pickle Lake by signing an earn-in agreement with Exiro Minerals Corp over that company’s New Patricia gold prospect.
New Patricia extends over 30km of prospective geological setting directly along strike from the Golden Patricia gold mine that was previously operated by Barrick Gold.
It also adjoins Ardiden’s Dorothy-Dobie gold prospect.
By acquiring the New Patricia gold prospect Ardiden will effectively more than double the prospective ground position it controls in the area, taking it from 123 square kilometres to 257sqkm.
The earn-in agreement will result in Ardiden forming a contiguous belt of highly-prospective gold claims over a total width of 90km to form a dominant position in the Pickle Lake gold camp.
“Our collaboration with Exiro’s well-respected management team has been put together in the true spirit of exploration, where stakeholders are only significantly rewarded through smart exploration work and ultimately, discovery,” Ardiden CEO Rob Longley said.
“Exiro has invested significant time and applied expertise in identifying highly prospective segments of the Uchi Geological Subprovince.
“The New Patricia package fits perfectly within Ardiden’s existing 100 per cent-owned holding and gold aggregation strategy.
“We look forward to a productive collaboration with Exiro in the region for the benefit of our respective shareholders.”
During 2019/20, Ardiden aims to build on the Resource at Kasagiminnis with further drilling as well as exploration activities at the West Pickle, South Limb and Dorothy-Dobie prospects planned.
Ardiden also wholly-owns the Seymour Lake lithium project in Ontario that has a Mineral Resource Estimate of 4.8 million tonnes at 1.25 per cent lithium oxide and 186ppm tantalum pentoxide.,
Ardiden has made it known that it is looking for a partner or alliance to draw value from the Seymour Lake project, as well as its other lithium interests in Ontario including the Root Lake and Wisa Lake lithium projects.