‘The geology is simple – just drill it’: Hawkstone’s Greg Smith on the +18g/t Lone Pine gold project
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Special Report: In March, geologist and certified mine finder Greg Smith joined the board of junior explorer Hawkstone Resources (ASX:HWK). What does Smith see in this US gold-lithium play?
Smith led the exploration team at TSX-listed junior Moto Gold Mines when it uncovered a mammoth gold zone at the historic Kibali mining centre in the DRC.
This project had a history of significant gold production, most notably in the 1950s/60s when the Belgians mined ~3 million ounces. Even more has been extracted via placer, alluvial, and small oxide mine workings.
“But we discovered a new zone which was at depth – the Belgians never got near it,” Smith says.
“First we got the handle of the geology, and from there we said ‘well – there should be something down here’.
“We drilled some holes [at the Karagba prospect in 2005] and one of them came back at 118m at 5.19g/t, 250m from surface.”
Moto went from penny stock to a ~$4.50-per-share takeover target in 2009. Kibali is now the 8th largest gold mine in the world, a monstrous 815,000-ounce-a-year operation owned by AngloGold Ashanti and Barrick.
Smith certainly knows how to revive an old mining operation. In March, he joined the board of junior explorer Hawkstone Resources, which had just acquired a small historic gold project in the US state of Idaho.
The Lone Pine project, last mined in 1907, comes with a non-JORC compliant resource estimate of 71,178oz grading over 18g/t based on work done in 1935.
Lone Pine has never been drilled, ever. This provides Hawkstone with a significant opportunity.
A 400m, phase-one drilling program – five holes, 80m to 100m deep each – is expected to kick off in the second quarter.
“We will just test the [gold bearing] vein along strike at about 100m intervals, which should give us an excellent representation of the geology,” Smith says.
But that’s just the start. The initial program is only testing the near-surface stuff to 150-200m. The mineralisation remains ‘open’ in numerous directions.
“We know we have 71,000oz in a very small area; is +500,000oz possible? It could be — it just depends on the extent of the mineralisation how deep you want to drill,” Smith says.
A few kilometres away, TSX-listed Revival Gold hit high-grade dirt at the Bear Track mine around 450m depth. There are other mines in the Trans-Chalice Fault System that are up to 2.5km deep, says Smith.
By the end of the year Hawkstone plans to have a JORC resource in place.
“The Lone Pine geology is simple – we are going to go in, drill the thing, prove up an initial resource, and repeat,” Smith says.