ASX-listed gold hunter Marmota (ASX:MEU) has more evidence that its leaf-sampling technique to divining new gold resources may have legs.

It has hit grades of up to 30g/t gold at Aurora Tank in South Australia, and it’s identified new zones based on analysing leaves in the area.

Marmota has finished up another round of drilling at the project bringing up hits including 4m @ 30g/t gold from 20m, which was roughly 120m south of a previous hit of 5m @ 27g/tAu.

It also managed to open up a new high-grade zone to the north west, with multiple intersections including 4m @10g/t, 4m @ 8.9g/t, and 4m @ 8g/t.

Marmota said the new zone appeared to be over 100m long and is open in “multiple directions”.

But it’s not the hit which is the news, but how it knew where to drill.

It’s in the leaves

Marmota has been working from the geochemical sampling of leaves, following up on work done by the CSIRO.

The CSIRO found that there was a correlation between biogeochemical sampling results and surface and groundwater analysis.

Marmota decided to put the theory to the test by testing leaves around a known gold deposit in the area — theorising that the geochemical markers in groundwater in gold systems would show up in the leaves.

Turns out they were right, with unique markers showing up in the leaves.

They were also able to delineate new anomaly targets through this method, with the leaves showing the possibility of gold where previous tests had brought up nothing.

Early exploration success based off the sampling was featured in The Economist earlier this year, and the further exploration success will give it even more validation.

What’s more, the tree-sampling technique also led to a hit a whopping 450m away from the main mineralisation at Aurora Tank.

A new hope

Marmota undertook tree sampling outside the current known system of mineralisation at Aurora Tank to see if it could find gold in an area with no historic drilling.

It managed to do so, hitting 6m @ 3.4g/t gold from 44m.

What’s more, the hole remains open at 50m depth (the total depth Marmota drilled), giving Marmota more to chew on, with the company telling investors that it would need more drilling to find out whether the hit was a flash in the pan or the start of something.

Commenting on the drilling results, Marmota chairman Colin Rose told the market that he found the drilling result “particularly exciting and remarkable”.

“This is Marmota’s sixth successive drilling program at Aurora Tank: each and every one of these programs has been a success,” he said.

“I find it particularly exciting and remarkable that we have identified a new discovery hole 450m from known mineralisation, at 44m below surface, based entirely on trees leaves from a senna tree…

“The record high gold price is the cherry on top of the cake.”