Ardiden’s July drilling program will test Pickle Lake’s multi-million-ounce gold potential
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Special Report: In July, Ardiden will embark on a resource definition drilling program at the 110,000oz, high-grade Kasagiminnis discovery at Pickle Lake, Canada. The multi-million-ounce discovery opportunities at Pickle Lake ‘are truly exciting’, the company says.
North America represents the land of opportunity for a new crop of Aussie gold explorers and miners.
Since 2018, ~$7m market cap Ardiden (ASX:ADV) has amassed a dominant 664sqkm landholding in the unexplored Pickle Lake region in Ontario, Canada.
This is elephant country. The Pickle Lake project is comparable in size to the producing 30-million-ounce Red Lake gold district, right next door.
A 2018 drill program by Ardiden at the Kasagiminnis discovery returned thick, shallow, and high-grade intercepts like 21m grading 3.97 grams per tonne (g/t), 67m from surface.
This drilling culminated in a maiden high-grade resource of 790,000 tonnes grading 4.3g/t for 110,000oz of gold in September 2019.
That resource is only estimated over a length of 600m and to a maximum depth of 280m below surface. All up, the drill bit has never gone below 305m depth at Kasagiminnis.
That’s a tiny footprint in the overall scheme of things; especially if you consider that there are four other mines in the immediate region have produced over 3 Million ounces in the immediate region that have been developed down to depths of up to 1.2km below surface:
The gold at Kasagiminnis also remains ‘open’ (a.k.a ‘we don’t know where the gold ends’) to the east and west, but historical spaced drilling already indicates that the gold mineralisation trend continues in both directions.
The upside is clear. Ardiden believes Kasagiminnis is already displaying early stage similarities with some of the region’s big mining operations.
High-grade underground gold mines in northern Ontario have small footprints at surface due to the lack of ‘outcrop’, the company says.
For example, Newmont’s producing 5moz Musselwhite gold mine, 150km to the north, has a small surface footprint similar to Kasagiminnis.
“Despite this small surface expression, Musselwhite underground now has an extensive strike length of over 6km of economically extractable gold,” Ardiden says.
Recently, Ardiden’s geologists interpreted a thrust fault — the source of gold-bearing fluids — directly below the Kasagiminnis deposit similar to the fault in the Red Lake Greenstone Belt which hosts the Red Lake mine complex and Great Bear Resources’ Dixie gold project.
Ardiden now plans to start testing a high-grade exploration target of between 500,000oz and 1.2moz for Kasagiminnis with a phase one drilling program, due to kick off in July.
The ~3,000m program — funded from existing cash reserves — will target the western extension of the existing resource area to a max depth of 500m. Phase two and three drilling is also planned.
Ardiden’s Canadian exploration manager Dan Grabiec confirms the company has a much-improved understanding of the geology, structures and controls on gold mineralisation to support this drilling campaign.
“We can see the potential over at least a 5km strike length of our ground at Kasagiminnis based on historical results and geophysics,” he says.
“To the east along strike is the Dona Lake underground mine, owned by Goldcorp, which was developed to 455m below surface at an average grade of 6.6g/t gold.
“To our west, also along strike, is the undeveloped Koval deposit owned by Barrick.
“We have formulated an exploration target of 0.5-1.2moz over a 2km portion of this strike length and are really excited to be planning additional drilling to convert more mineralisation into JORC classification.”
The company has barely scratched the surface at Kasagiminnis and the exploration target of approximately 0.5-1.2moz at just this singular deposit, further illustrates the potential within Ardiden’s larger land portfolio.
While Kasagiminnis is a logical starting point for Ardiden to start building ounces, it is just one of multiple ‘deposit-scale’ targets and advanced gold prospects within the company’s 120km of underexplored strike.