Auric applies gold-tinted glasses to Widgie exploration assets
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Special Report: The Widgiemooltha region of Western Australia, between Kambalda and Norseman, has built a reputation as something of a nickel hotspot over recent years.
A number of explorers have tried their luck at uncovering nickel mineralisation in the area – some with great success, others less so.
The area is also highly prospective for gold – you don’t produce the WA’s largest solid gold nugget out of nowhere – but while some continue their pursuit the yellow metal hasn’t always topped the list of priorities for those with projects in the region.
It was on this basis that recently-listed gold explorer Auric Mining (ASX:AWJ) was listed – taking projects in the district where previous mineral exploration had largely focused on nickel mineralisation and refocusing with a golden lens.
In doing so, the company listed with three projects – more advanced development projects with mineral resource estimates on existing mining leases at Munda and Jeffreys Find, and the less advanced Spargoville gold project nearby.
With around $6 million in the bank and plenty of work to get on with, the enthusiasm for exploration was clear from the outset. Auric listed on the ASX on February 12. The first rig was drilling on February 14.
Shortly before heading out to site to drive core from the flagship Munda project to a lab in Kalgoorlie last week, managing director Mark English recently told Stockhead that the drilling at Munda was the first step in realising gold value in Widgemooltha.
“Munda was mined by Resolute Mining way back in about 1999, when gold pricing was about US$400 per ounce,” he said.
“They mined it for about 18 months and did OK – not fantastically but OK.
“What we like about Munda is that it’s quite high grade. It’s got an inferred resource of about 174,000 ounces of gold at a 0.5 gram per tonne cut-off, and we believe that by drilling we can expand that quite quickly.
“The drill program will look at moving that resource from inferred to indicated but will also look to expand and grow the resource.”
The Munda tenement was previously held by Estrella Resources (ASX:ESR), but little recent work has been carried out. It sits adjacent to Mincor Resources’ Widgiemooltha gold project where substantial work has been done over the past three years and mining was carried out in 2018-19.
A series of drill core is currently at the Genalysis lab in Kalgoorlie, with assays eagerly anticipated.
Preliminary work has also started at Jeffreys Find, which includes both the Jeffreys Find deposit and the Neo prospect around 550m to the northwest.
Jeffreys Find sits close to close to Canadian-listed Karora Resources’ prolific Higginsville gold operations, which had measured and indicated mineral resources of 1.46 million ounces at September 30 last year. Karora was formerly known as RNC Minerals Corporation.
Mineralisation at Jeffreys Find is associated with a moderately southwesterly dipping banded iron formation unit which is distinctive in magnetic images over around 1.6km.
The mineral resource at Jeffreys Find currently sits at 1.22 million tonnes at 1.22g/t for 47,900 ounces of gold at a 0.5 gram cut off.
“Jeffreys Find is completely different geologically, in a banded iron formation, and we’ve got a bit of work to do in expanding the resource there,” English said. ‘
“We need to do a bit of drilling on the Neo Prospect, and we really think in conjunction with expansion of the Jeffreys Find deposit resource that there is a toll treatment possibility here.
“That’s still a while away, but that’s our focus at Jeffreys Find.”
The Spargoville project, 35km southwest of Kambalda and 4km from the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, is a greenfields project where several gold anomalies have previously been identified and only one was followed up with partial drilling.
English said Auric was actively talking to people in the area but was adamant that the company’s focus was Widgiemooltha and its surrounds – where established infrastructure and a rich mining legacy reign supreme.
“We’re not interested in going up to the Pilbara or Kimberley or anything like that,” he said.
“It’s not that there’s anything wrong with those places, but we know we’re in a great location where we are and we’re motivated to keep working on that.
“There’s a lot of players here that are basically nickel focused, and they have really concentrated on nickel assets without looking at the gold possibilities.
“Our technical team, led by John Utley, is gold focused. John’s a 40-plus-year geologist who has worked around the world focusing on gold, so he’s a great person to be heading this up.
“We’re maintaining our focus on gold in the Widgiemooltha region, and we’re pretty excited by the opportunity.
“We will also continue with our investigations into M&A activities. We have excellent sources of capital and financial backers to support potential acquisitions in the area.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Auric Mining, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.