The immense potential of one of New Zealand’s largest historic goldfields is emerging with the first hard rock drilling at the home of the famous Otago gold rush confirming the presence of broad gold mineralisation.

It could herald a new dawn for the home of the 1860s Otago gold rush, where alluvial gold in the Gabriel’s Gully area drew prospectors far and wide to the South Island in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

By the early 1900s outcropping mineralisation had been tapped and hard rock mining had stopped.

Just 15km away New Age Exploration (ASX:NAE) has resumed modern exploration at its OPQ project on the Central Otago Schist Belt, where quite incredibly no modern exploration has been conducted until now.


NAE’s drilling has outlined broad gold mineralisation. Pic: NAE


An initial 879m reverse circulation drill program tested the previously undrilled OPQ Shear Zone around historic workings left behind by the old timers.

The best place to find a gold mine, they say, is under an old one. And the early indications are good. Four of the six holes so far have intercepted the shear zone.

Assays confirmed it is a fertile gold system, with gold bearing quartz veins and broad gold halo mineralisation which remains open. In. All. Directions.

“The OPQ drill program consisted of 879m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling. This was the first hard rock gold exploration drilling ever to be completed in the historically productive Waipori Goldfield,” New Age executive director Joshua Wellisch said.

“The drilling was designed to test high-grade gold targets within the vicinity of historic underground workings containing the OPQ Shear Zone.

“This project continues to represent a unique opportunity for NAE to unlock the potential of one of New Zealand’s largest historic goldfields in a world class gold province with an ~8km strike extent.”


New Age has completed the first modern drilling program on the OPQ Shear Zone. Pic: NAE


Numerous targets

Diamond drilling is now being planned to target the structure hosting gold on the OPQ that couldn’t be picked up with the technical limitations of RC drilling.

The OPQ Shear Zone is a large structure, stretching for an inferred 8km, hosting numerous gold and tungsten targets.

The historic OPQ mine sits in a well exposed central portion of the Shear Zone, before heading under thin cover that would have confounded old timers to the south.

Significant gold intercepts above 0.5g/t are associated with sulphide pyrite and arsenopyrite bearing quartz veins, with a low grade halo of mineralisation recorded across a 50m down hole intercept.

Assays from RV drilling to date include hits of 6m at 1.4g/t from 106m and 1m at 1.9g/t from 161m to the end of hole in OPQ004, 1m at 2.53g/t from 124m in OPQ006, 1m at 0.92g/t from 144m in OPQ002 and 1m at 0.67g/t from 82m in OPQ001.

So far drill holes have been sunk 100-150m down dip of surface workings, 600m has been tested so far, with another 600m of the historically mined zone still to be tested before shallow cover buries the gold-bearing structure.


New Zealand’s South Island includes the 10Moz Macraes mine. Pic: NAE



This article was developed in collaboration with New Age Exploration, 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.