Drilling campaigns and oxide resource upgrades at 1.2 million ounce Youanmi Gold Mine area
Proving of bigger oxide resources to substantiate potential development
New high-grade drilling results in regional exploration provide significant upside for the project
What does Venus Metals do?
Venus Metals Corporation Ltd (ASX:VMC) is an explorer and near-developer focused on its multi-commodity Youanmi project, which hosts substantial gold, iron, vanadium and titanium resources, together with base metals, cobalt and lithium.
The 650-square kilometre land package is 480 kilometres northeast of Western Australia’s capital Perth and took Venus five years to assemble.
The company is led by managing director Matt Hogan, who in his early career spent several decades in the stockbroking industry as an authorised representative specialising in corporate transactions.
Hogan was formerly the executive director & CEO of United Minerals Corporation NL (UMC) which discovered the Railway Iron Ore DSO deposit in the Central Pilbara, before being acquired by BHP Billiton in February 2010 for $204 million.
He was also central to the ASX-listing of Iron Ore Holdings Limited which achieved a market capitalisation of more than $200 million before it was acquired by BC Iron Limited for $250 million.
Speaking to Proactive, Hogan said Venus Metals’ flagship Youanmi project was a treasure trove of gold, vanadium and base metals, cobalt and lithium - all of which have been assembled in one package for the first time under Venus.
He added that Venus had effectively settled the purchase of the Younami gold mine acquisition through joint ventures with Rox Resources Ltd (ASX:ROX).
“We now have four joint ventures in place following the settlement with Rox Resources where they need to spend $3 million in exploration inside those leases within two years, as well as cover all of the holding costs,” Hogan said.
“The district is loaded with other minerals, all 100% owned by Venus.
"This includes a major iron-vanadium-titanium resource as well as base metals – there’s zinc, cobalt and lithium already shown by drilling.
“The focus is gold because the gold price is over $2,200 an ounce and there’s 1.2 million ounces of resources – about 600,000 in near-surface deposits over a series of different pits and about 600,000 in the underground Youanmi Deeps.
“The gold price is very strong and that’s a driver for economics – we’ve got a great resource and patch of dirt which hosts many potential other oxide-type gold discoveries. We’ve got a good building platform and Rox Resources is helping us fund it all.”
Venus Metals and Rox Resources plans to build up their oxide resource base to support feasibility studies towards a go or no-go decision.
Hogan said: “What would make Youanmi fly is high-grade gold drilling results. We have just discovered bonanza grades at the Currans Find North deposit which could be the tip of a massive ‘golden’ iceberg.
“There are strong geological similarities to the adjacent Penny West – Penny North prospects of Spectrum Metals, where the high-grade ore bodies have blossomed at depth.
“The other high value driver is the potential of our massive iron–vanadium-titanium oxide deposit. We’re working with Chinese executives on arrangements and they’ve taken bulk samples to do studies on.”
The large vanadium oxide resource in Venus’ tenure is completely different to the other fresh rock hard magnetite vanadium deposits starting from surface and containing a measured, indicated and inferred resource of more than 134 million tonnes at 0.34% vanadium pentoxide.
Hogan added: “Our point of difference is we’ve got a very large soft weathered ore body that is amenable to easy beneficiation and metals extraction. The key to this deposit is finding the right partner, the finance and low-cost of capital and operational expenditure.
Venus considers its portfolio an attractive investment proposition due to Youanmi’s potential to leverage the company from an explorer into a developer.
Hogan pointed to Venus’ low issued share capital which reflects only small amounts of capital being issued to run the business since listing in 2007.
As an example, he highlighted the recent placement of 6 million shares at 20 cents to Queensland coal multi-millionaire Christopher Wallin to raise $1.2 million.
What does Venus own?
Youanmi’s gold district straddles a 36-kilometre strike length of the Youanmi Greenstone Belt, within the Southern Cross province of the Yilgarn Craton.
The historical mine area has produced an estimated 667,000 ounces of gold since being discovered in 1901 during three main periods: 1908-1921, 1937-42 and 1987-1997.
Venus Metals’ tenements surround this area and have both underground and near-surface JORC-compliant indicated and inferred resources.
The underground Youanmi Deeps resource amounts to 2.4 million tonnes grading 8.5 g/t for 657,900 ounces and is refractory in part.
Indicated and inferred resources for Youanmi’s near-surface deposit go over eight areas and contains 10.07 million tonnes grading 1.65 g/t for 532,700 ounces.
Total JORC 2012 compliant resource for the Youanmi Gold Mine is estimated to be 1.2 million ounces.
The company began an extensive review of the assay data base in 2018 to re-evaluate existing data and identify exploration targets adjacent to existing resource models.
In June this year, Venus Metals’ share price soared 20% to 15 cents after it revealed bonanza grades of up to 72.67 g/t gold at the Currans Find North prospect.
Following the initials discovery, Venus Metals and JV partner Rox Resources were seeking further bonanza grades through a new 1,600-metre reverse circulation drilling program.
The drilling was completed at the end of July and focused on Currans Find North where 1,058 metres was completed as well as other targets.
New bonanza grade intersections from this drilling confirmed high-grade gold mineralisation down-plunge and along-strike extensions of the high-grade mineralisation intersected in previous drilling at the Currans North prospect, which included:
3 metres at 27.5 g/t gold from 39 metres, including 1 metre at 72.67 g/t from 39 metres; and
2 metres at 13.34 g/t from 61 metres, including 1 metre at 25.38 g/t from 61 metres.
The latest intersections (of which some 1-metre assays are pending) included:
3 metres at 25 g/t gold from 106 metres, including 1-metre at 57.15 g/t from 110 metres; and
8 metres at 7.81 g/t from 112 metres, including 4 metres at 12.55 g/t from 112m
RC drilling will soon restart to chase the high-grade gold zones along strike and down-plunge.
Notably, the high-grade gold and sulphide-rich lode at Currans North shows accessory galena, which has also been reported from the Penny West Gold mine and the Penny North discovery.
This is highly significant as it further confirms the geological similarities between Currans Find North, Penny North and Penny West gold mine.
Later this month, an IP survey will be trialled across the new sulphide-rich lode and if successful, rolled out across the entire ML to find sulphide-rich lodes hidden at depth that may host high-grade gold.
A 5,000-metre aircore drilling program has also just begun north of the historical Penny West Gold Mine, the historical Magenta and Columbia gold prospects and the recent Penny North gold discovery.
Aeromagnetic data show the stratigraphic units that host these gold deposits may extend north into the Venus joint venture tenement, where they present a prime gold exploration target for high-grade gold mineralisation of the Penny West type.
High-grade drilling results from across Youanmi’s gold mining leases
Continued positive metallurgical test results and technical study outcomes
Moving into business
“Our strategy is to advance the Youanmi Gold Mine as well as our massive vanadium oxide resource,” Hogan said. “The milestones will be around our drilling campaigns at Youanmi which will go throughout the rest of this year and our advanced metallurgical studies around our vanadium. Ultimately, I think the resource upgrades at Youanmi in the oxide categories and the new discoveries will be the drivers.”