Changed management and a new exploration philosophy could soon breathe life into an ex-Doray Minerals JV project in Western Australia.

Strickland Metals (ASX:STK) recently bought joint venture partner Silver Lake Resources out of its minority 37% stake in the Horse Well gold project – a legacy share acquired in the 2019 Doray Minerals merger – on the Yandal/Millrose greenstone belt in WA’s goldfields.

The company also reconfigured its board, bringing in new CEO Andrew Bray, along with non-executive directors Trent Franklin and Mark Cossom and technical advisor Peter Langworthy – the latter three will be familiar for their involvement at board level with Gateway Mining (ASX:GML), which is one of Strickland’s largest shareholders.

It’s a lot of change in a short space of time, but a shift that’s been taken to refocus a company in what Bray believes is a significant asset in Horse Well.

“Horse Well is now the flagship project for Strickland,” he told Stockhead.

“Horse Well is a tier one exploration play in the Yandal Belt – that’s a serious neck of the woods. It has Northern Star’s Jundee project to the west, and it’s hugely underexplored.

“We’re talking at least 50km of strike over greenstone belt.

“We made the decision that we don’t want to be talking about cobalt in New South Wales or copper targets in the Bryah Basin. It’s very much Horse Well-centric for us going forward.”

Horse Well presents a base for the company to build on. The project spans more than 1000km2 of Archean greenstone belt and is home to an inferred JORC mineral resource of 5.7 million tonnes at 1.4 grams per tonne gold for 257,000 ounces.

Here’s a visual.

The Horse Well project. Pic: Supplied.

Between 2013 and 2019, Horse Well had more than 75,000m of aircore and 10,000m of reverse circulation put into it – mostly at the Horse prospects where the majority of project ounces are currently found. But Strickland believes there’s much more to find at the project and has plans in place to kick off on exploration.

Of particular focus for Strickland will be the Big Daddy prospect over the Celia Shear zone.

“There’s some really big, parallel gold structures there with highly anomalous gold and aircore samples that all link up really nicely,” Bray said.

“But it’s really wide-spaced drilling – most of it has been done over 800m by 160m. In doing that they’ve picked up an 8km trend, a 7km trend and a few other smaller ones.

“We know it’s a big system, there’s granite intrusives all along there, and it’s in the neck of the woods where you’re talking multimillion-ounce type of deposits.

“Despite all that, it’s never had an RC hole put into it.

“In 2021, to be picking up that kind of project is unheard of in WA. Everything’s had the eyes picked out of it.”

At Horse Well Strickland has a project of big potential, with access to knowledge required to make the most of it.

Call of the Horse

In newly appointed non-executive director Mark Cossom, Strickland has added someone uniquely acquainted with Horse Well.

Silver Lake’s recently bought out 37% stake in the project was picked up as part of its 2019 merger with Doray Minerals.

Doray and Alloy Resources, which became Strickland last year, were the active parties which explored Horse Well between 2013 and 2019 under a joint venture arrangement.

And Cossom, a highly regarded geologist and mining executive who is currently also MD at Gateway, was once the man in charge of Doray’s joint venture interest in Horse Well.

“When Mark was at Doray there were a lot of targets and plans that he worked up for Horse Well but was never able to drill for various reasons,” Bray said.

“Doray being the minority interest meant Strickland were calling the shots on where the money was spent.

“He knows the project like the back of his hand – having access to that sort of IP is really important.”

With knowledge under the belt, a series of walk-up targets to test and cash in the bank courtesy of a recent $5.05 million capital raise, the priority for Strickland over the coming months is to get the rigs turning.

“There’s been a lot of drilling done oblique to the Dusk til Dawn prospect in the past,” Bray said.

“We’ll be straight in there with an RC and diamond rig to drill that out – it’s got a really high-grade core to it.

“The immediate focus at Big Daddy is to infill the aircore – taking it in from 800m by 160m spacing, and then following that up with RC drilling.

“We’re not planning on doing incremental resource upgrades, we’re looking to go out and systematically explore the shear zone – hitting it hell for leather with the drill rig.

“By doing that, we hope to get onto what we all believe is in the ground there.”