Great Boulder Resources (ASX: GBR) has taken an option over the Side Well project just outside the Western Australian town of Meekatharra in a neighbourhood that has so far produced almost 4 million ounces of gold.
Side Well, like so many gold projects being picked up in Australia these days, has a rich history — being explored by four (three now former) listed mining companies, and in at least two cases, rejected in favour of better pickings.
But, with gold hovering around an Australian gold price of $2,600 per ounce, suddenly such projects have a new shine to them — especially if past drilling produced results including 3m at 35.5 grams per tonne of gold from the Matilda prospect inside Side Well, and 14m at 5.30g/t gold from the Mulga Bill prospect.
In addition, much of the Mulga Bill project, including what Great Boulder considers the most prospective area, has been drilled only in sections 400m apart, “leaving ample room for a significant discovery”, the company said.
Great Boulder plans to begin exploration immediately.
Project explored several times in past 28 years
The Side Well tenement covers 131.8sq km in close proximity to Meekatharra and overlies the Meekatharra-Wydgee greenstone belt.
Great Boulder has entered into an option agreement with a company owned by prospector Scott Wilson, who pegged the neighbouring Andy Well deposit in 1988 that was developed into a mine by the former Doray Minerals.
“The parallels between Andy Well and Side Well are compelling in terms of their history as well as their geological setting,” Great Boulder said.
Regional exploration around Andy Well has been carried out by several companies. The former Dominion Mining worked the area between 1992 and 1995, followed by WMC Resources (1996-97), Accent Resources (ASX: ACS) in 2009, and then by Doray Minerals (2010-16).
Dominion was the first to identify significant gold mineralisation, hitting 26m at 2.19g/t gold in 1993.
WMC Resources drilled the neighbouring Andy Well (the one developed by Doray), but walked away because it did not meet the company’s threshold of a potential 6 million ounces.
Then, Doray drilled high-grade holes in the Matilda and Mulga Bill prospects of Side Well, but from 2015, the company shifted its focus to ramping up operations at Deflector, south of Yalgoo. Doray — and Deflector — were later acquired by Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR).
Stone’s throw from multi-million-ounce field
Great Boulder managing director Andrew Paterson said the transaction is a significant step in the company’s gold exploration strategy.
“Side Well is a rare combination of high-grade gold intersections on a big tenement, a stone’s throw from a multi-million-ounce goldfield,” he said.
At Side Well, Great Boulder has two successful holes drilled 400m apart without a single hole between them.
“Twenty years ago, when WMC were exploring the area, they walked away from Andy Well when it was at a similar stage,” Mr Paterson said.
“Ten years later, Doray came in and drilled out over 800,000oz.”