Australian explorer Hawkstone Mining (ASX: HWK) has increased its landholding at the Western Desert gold-copper project in Utah by 950%, taking the size of its total tenement package in the region to over 25 square kilometres.
The move followed a strong finish to the company’s recent exploration program which included rock chip sampling of outcropping mineralisation and old workings.
The program returned high-grade results of 6.92 grams per tonne gold, 5.09% copper, 1495g/t silver and more than 20% lead.
Hawkstone acquired the Western Desert project in March, at which time it comprised 30 lode mining claims covering 2.43sqkm.
A program of photogeological interpretation identified 11 new targets at Western Desert, with Targets A1 and A3 exhibiting features similar to the Carlin-type mineralisation of the nearby Carlin gold belt and were earmarked as a high priority.
A combination of these targets and the recent assays has seen Hawkstone stake a further 218 lode claims over 17.64sqkm at minimal cost, topped up with three state lease applications over 0.77sqkm.
Managing director Paul Lloyd said the project was living up to initial expectations.
“Our work to date has defined exciting targets that we will progress in a logical and timely manner,” he said.
“With the known mineralisation and ideal structural setting, we see this project as holding excellent potential in an under-explored geological terrain which hosts some of the world’s largest gold deposits.”
Western Desert lies close to the Utah-Nevada border, within a similar geological setting to the prolific Carlin gold belt which has produced 200 million ounces of gold.
It is 50 kilometres east of Newmont’s Long Canyon mine which has a resource of 4.5 million ounces of gold.
The next stage at Western Desert will comprise follow-up exploration on tertiary drainages within anomalous mineralised trends identified during stream sediment sampling in an effort to pinpoint the source.
The sampling produced numerous geochemically-anomalous areas for gold and recognised path finder elements for Carlin-style mineralisation, and are believed to be closely related to targets identified in photogeological mapping.
Follow-up work will be done in conjunction with geological mapping, soil and rock chip sampling.
The use of ground-based geophysical methods is also being investigated to help define new drill targets.