Aruma Resources is the latest junior to target the Pilbara for its gold riches, pegging some 490 sq km of ground next to a privately-owned gold mine.

The company (ASX:AAJ) has applied for an exploration licence over the Sheela project, which lies 210km west of Paraburdoo.

News of the application saw its shares gain as much as 14 per cent to 1.6c before closing at 1.5c, up 7 per cent.

The project lies next to privately-owned Star of Mangaroon gold mine which produced some 7500 ounces from 1960 to 1983 at a grade of 34.8 grams per tonne gold.

According to Aruma, the Star of Mangaroon gold structures extend into the Sheela project.

“The presence of a high-grade gold mine in close proximity, with structures crossing in the sediments of the Sheela Project, creates a favourable environment for gold mineralisation from either Placer or Hydrothermal sources of mineralisation,” Aruma said.

While sediments of the Sheela project are younger than those in Witwatersand and north Pilbara, Aruma believes the project nonetheless possesses signatures indicative of both gold systems.

The Witwatersrand Basin is a South African geological formation that houses the world’s biggest known gold reserves, producing 2 billion ounces — or about half of gold ever mined.

Previous exploration at the Sheela project consists of 43 drill holes across the project area.

An exploration program will begin once the licence has been granted early next year.

Last week, Aruma raised $770,000 to fund exploration programs at its Slate Dam and Beowulf gold projects near Kalgoorlie.

Aruma has a market cap of $5 million.