Auteco Minerals Ltd (ASX:AUT) has increased the JORC 2012-compliant inferred resource at its Pickle Crow Gold Project in Canada by 20% to 1 million ounces at 11.3 g/t gold.
Additional high-grade results from recent drilling up to 250 metres outside the resource also point to further potential grow the gold inventory.
Sufficient geological confidence has been added through logging, mapping and additional drilling to be able to incorporate an additional 180,000 ounces into the inferred resource category.
Given the depth, width and grade of the deposit, Auteco considers that the mineralisation has a reasonable prospect of eventually being mined.
There is already a successful history of commercial production at the Pickle Crow Gold Mine, which produced 1.5 million ounces at 16 g/t between 1935 and 1966 before eventual closure.
The high-grade resources are also close to existing underground infrastructure and in proximity to world-class surface infrastructure, including highways and commercial hydro power lines.
Further inventory growth expected
Auteco executive chairman Ray Shorrocks said the results of this latest drilling were not included in the new resource estimate, highlighting the strong potential for further increases in the Pickle Crow inventory.
He said: “Our drilling results are outstanding because they increase our geological confidence in the historically identified areas of mineralisation and they are also extending the known mineralisation.
“To have established and grown a JORC resource of this size in this short time speaks volumes about the quality of the mineralised system.
“And given the strength of the latest results, we have every reason to expect to achieve further growth in the inventory in time for our next planned resource upgrade in the first half of 2021.”
Drilling outside the resource
Multiple holes from targets outside of the resource estimate have returned visible gold, with assays including:
- 0.6 metres at 99.4 g/t gold from 167.4 metres, including 0.3 metres at 181 g/t ;
- 1.6 metres at 25.8 g/t from 95 metres, including 0.6 metres at 65.2 g/t from 95.7 metres;
- 1.6 metres at 19.6 g/t from 372 metres; and
- 3 metres at 7.37 g/t from 261 metres.
Reconnaissance exploration drilling has resulted in three new high-grade gold discoveries/extensions already with significant step out mineralisation returned from Vein 5 extensions, Vein 11 extensions including a new footwall discovery, and a new Vein 112.
Plan View of Pickle Crow mineralised trend highlighting additional resource areas and unmined intercepts incorporated into the updated mineral resource estimate as well as the location of recent reconnaissance drilling.
Walk up, near-mine targets
Multiple underexplored, walk-up, near-mine targets have been identified outside of resources associated with regional-scale major shear zones.
- Springer Shaft Target: 1.7 metres at 36.6 g/t gold from 15.1 metres;
- F Vein Target: 4.6 metres at 9.3 g/t from 27.1 metres;
- SW Powder house Target: 6.1 metres at 7.3 g/t from 86.6 metres; and
- East Pat Shear: 6 metres at 7.7 g/t from 232 metres.
These areas are being subjected to initial geological field assessment by Auteco field geologists ahead of proposed regional exploration drilling in the winter when the regional ground is more accessible.
“Increasing exploration efforts”
Exploration efforts are focused on the definition of additional resources within the top 500 metres from surface and within the Core Trend; host to the current inferred resource and historical mining and infrastructure.
Shorrocks said: “Our confidence is increased by the reconnaissance drilling within the Core Mine Trend, which has resulted in what looks like multiple new, near-surface, high-grade early-stage discoveries within a few hundred metres of current mine infrastructure.
“These exciting new discoveries have abundant visible gold and have returned assays up to 137.3 g/t gold.
“This early success supports Auteco’s investment assumption that historical exploration activity at the Pickle Crow Gold Mine had been constrained by prevailing geological assumptions that were open to challenge through an open-minded approach to old datasets and a return to first principals geological techniques.
“In light of these results, we have added a third drill rig and increased the program from 10,000 metres to at least 45,000 metres.”
To date, 19 holes for 4,400 metres completed, and the third diamond drill rig is expected to commence step out drill testing in September to expedite resource growth and test the walk-up targets.
The drilling program is fully funded following the company’s recent $30.4 million capital raising.