Exploration at the now famous Purdy’s Reward conglomerate gold project in the Pilbara is showing signs of fine grain gold and coarser gold, according to joint venture partners Novo Resources and Artemis Resources.

Purdy’s Reward kicked off the Pilbara gold nugget rush in July when Artemis and Canadian joint venture partner Novo discovered watermelon-seed shaped gold nuggets at the project south of Karratha in northern Western Australia.

Since the July 13 announcement, Artemis (ASX:ARV) shares have soared from 9c to a 52-week high on Friday of 40c — a huge 344 per cent increase. Artemis is now valued at about $200 million.

Novo has been ramping up exploration at the project including core drilling and trenching in areas of outcropping gold-bearing conglomerates.

Workers have opened seven trenches with an eighth underway and many more planned. Six of the trenches encountered targeted conglomerate units, the company reported today.

Gold mineralisation at Purdy’s is generally coarse and nuggety, but a bulk sample collected in July was found to contain fine-grained gold.

Novo then sieved and panned several grab samples from newly opened trenches. Three grab samples in the second trench yielding significant fine-grained gold.

Aerial of Trench 1 at Purdy’s Reward. Pic: Artemis

“While it is important to note that these samples do not provide quantitative gold analyses, they serve to confirm a component of fine-grained gold is present in the system and results to date have not provided Novo with clarity,” Novo told investors.

Novo is now conducting a deportment study to help provide more clarity. Deportment studies include physical, chemical and mineralogical assessments, combined to obtain a full understanding of the nature and variability of gold in a resource.

A geologist using a metal detector to locate strikes along a trench. Pic: Artemis

Despite the current lack of clarity, Artemis executive chairman David Lenigas said the update from Novo was nonetheless positive.

“The trenching has certainly highlighted a lot more about the structure and nature of the gold bearing conglomerates,” Mr Lenigas said.

“It is particularly pleasing to see physical evidence of fine grained gold within the multiple layers of conglomerates, as opposed to just the large watermelon seed shaped nuggets that Purdy’s Reward has become typically known for.

“It’s also pleasing to see the evidence that coarser gold is evident throughout the conglomerate sequence not just on the surface.”

Novo is spending $2 million to earn a 50 per cent stake in Purdy’s Reward.