Hawkstone buys Western Desert, a historic US project in a 250moz gold district
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Special Report: Hawkstone Mining (ASX:HWK) has just acquired a second historic high-grade gold project in the US. “It’s elephant country – there’s so many opportunities in the US like this,” managing director Paul Lloyd says.
The Western Desert gold-copper project Utah was prospected via adits, shafts and pits during the early 1900s, and by limited surface work in the late 1900s.
The project lies within the same geological terrain that hosts the Carlin and Cortez Trends further west which have a combined resource of almost 250 million ounces (moz) of gold.
This includes Newmont’s 4.5moz Long Canyon gold mine, 65km away. Western Desert is also 150km from Rio Tinto’s mammoth 23-million-tonne copper, 38.5moz gold Bingham Canyon porphyry mine.
At Western Desert, old exploration data is non-existent. As part of its project due diligence, Hawkstone took 21 rock samples, mainly from ‘ore’ piles near old workings and within underground adits.
Underground samples returned high-grade gold up to 25 grams per tonne (g/t), copper up to 4.6 per cent and silver up to 95g/t. Surface grab samples returned 6.7g/t gold and 6.3 per cent copper.
“The gold and copper grades are significantly high, and there’s also silver in there as well,” Lloyd told Stockhead.
“And the geological structures – we did a desktop review of the structures here, and it’s amazing that they have never been tested by magnetics and follow up drilling.”
There’s plenty of opportunities like this in the US, a country that doesn’t really have a junior exploration sector like Australia or Canada.
Until 1999, Newmont’s Long Canyon gold mine was just a collection of small historic prospecting pits.
It took a few Canadian exploration plays to uncover the true size and scale of this deposit.
In 2011, Newmont acquired Long Canyon via a takeover of Fronteer Gold, a Vancouver-listed exploration company. The deal valued Fronteer at $US2.3bn.
More recently, the junior Canadian market has switched focus from exploration to cannabis, which gives Aussie companies a lot of opportunity.
“Long Canyon is a recent discovery in elephant country, made on ground [similar to] Western Desert where no real modern exploration work had been done,” Lloyd says.
“There are no funds going into US exploration and now Aussies are recognising some of these opportunities.”
Hawkstone is now planning an exploration from scratch at Western Desert, starting with mapping, geochemistry and geophysical surveys to dial in on some targets prior to maiden drilling.
But Hawkstone’s initial focus will be its recently acquired Lone Pine gold project in Idaho.
The historic gold project, last mined back in 1907, is related to the Trans-Challis Fault System; a 275km-long zone that has produced more gold than any other area in Idaho.
Hawkstone plans to test a historic non-JORC compliant +70,000oz resource estimate at Lone Pine with a 400m, phase-one drilling program – five holes, 80m deep each – in the second quarter.