Perth-based Auric Mining (ASX: AWJ) has made its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange today, announcing it will immediately embark on a detailed exploration program at two priority gold projects and one exploration acquisition near the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region in WA.
The extensive work program will be funded by $7.25 million raised from an initial public offering in November to potential investors via the issue of an initial 26 million shares at $0.25 each, and oversubscriptions of a further 6 million shares at the same price.
One free-attaching option was given for every two shares, exercisable at $0.40 by October 2023.
Auric said its priority now would be on its gold portfolio which comprises the Munda, Jeffreys Find and Spargoville projects in an area across the eastern goldfields near to a number of existing mining operations and processing plants in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region.
“[We] anticipate that significant expenditure will be incurred in the evaluation and development of these projects,” the company said in its prospectus.
“These activities, together with the possible acquisition of interests in other projects, are expected to dominate at least, the first two-year period [after listing].”
Auric holds the rights to gold and other minerals at all three projects, with the exception of nickel and lithium rights at Munda, which are held by Neometals (ASX: NMT).
Drilling the Munda target
Auric plans to begin drilling 28 holes for a total 3,500m this month at the Munda target to test potential extensions to known gold mineralisation along the basalt-ultramafic contact and along the mineralised structure.
It will also investigate several locations where anomalies indicate that other distinct zones of gold mineralisation may be present.
Munda is located close to the Widgiemooltha Dome tenements owned by Mincor Resources (ASX: MCR).
The project is believed to be hosted within a basalt unit with overlying ultramafic flows occurring in association with carbonate and biotite alteration and rare sulphide minerals (except where nickel mineralisation is present).
The distribution of gold mineralisation is interpreted to be controlled by the intersection of a south-easterly dipping fault or shear, and layering in the basalts and ultramafics subparallel to the basalt-ultramafic contact.
There have been numerous phases of exploration and resource drilling for nickel and gold at Munda since the 1960s, the majority of which was conducted by Western Mining Corporation.
In 1999, Resolute Mining started trial mining from a small open pit but didn’t progress to a full-scale operation due to a low gold price.
An existing mining lease at the Jeffreys Find project, approximately 45km northeast of Norseman, will allow for accelerated development and an opportunity for Auric to grow the resource value.
Known gold mineralisation includes the Neo prospect, 550m to the northwest of Jeffreys Find, which is associated with a distinctive south-westerly dipping Banded Iron Formation (BIF) unit identified in magnetic imaging over 1.6km and comprising magnetite-grunerite-chert bounded by sandstones, siltstones, cherts and limestones.
Although gold mineralisation intersected by drilling is mainly confined to the BIF, it locally extends several metres into hanging wall and footwall sediments.
Gold also occurs in association with pyrite and arsenopyrite.
Exploration since discovery
Exploration sampling since Jeffreys Find was discovered in 1985 has been dominated by reverse circulation drilling, with minor amounts of diamond and rotary airblast drilling.
The majority of the work was undertaken by Carpentaria Exploration Company during the 1980s, and followed up to a minor extent in the 1990s by Red Back Mining NL.
Auric’s current program proposes exploration drilling and resource development work leading into a feasibility study to assess the viability of a second open pit operation.
Spargoville is held by Auric’s wholly-owned subsidiary Spargoville Minerals Pty Ltd and is in the process of being acquired from private Australian company Mariner Mining Pty Ltd.
The tenements and surrounding area have been explored by different companies since 1966 including Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS) which targeted high-grade shear-hosted gold mineralisation analogous to its nearby Wattle Dam deposit.
Historic soil and auger sampling within Spargoville had defined several gold anomalies which have only been partially tested by drilling to date.