Junior explorer Matador Mining (ASX: MZZ) has embarked on its largest diamond drilling program to date at the Cape Ray gold project in Canada’s emerging Newfoundland mining district.
Approximately 20,000m of drilling will be carried out over the North American winter to extend the gold footprint at the project’s known deposits while testing high-priority opportunities within 15km of existing resources.
More than 170 holes will be completed with a focus on shallow mineralisation suitable for open pit mining.
The brownfield part of the campaign will initially focus on the Window Glass Hill to Angus trend, which Matador believes has “excellent potential to contribute to additional mineral resource growth” at Cape Ray.
“With approximately 3km of prospective geology associated with shears and faults adjacent to, and striking through, the Window Glass Hill granite, this area is a priority for early drilling,” the company said.
The greenfield work will consume considerably more drilling, as the new targets have not been effectively tested in the past due to shallow till cover.
In 2020, Matador identified 33 priority targets based on the reinterpretation of existing surface geochemistry, geophysics and structural indicators.
Twelve of the targets were flagged for follow-up in this year’s program, with nine of them sitting within 15km of existing resources.
Initial testing will comprise detailed aeromagnetics coverage and systematic ATV-Winkie drill geochemistry leading to much more tightly constrained and ranked targets for follow-up diamond drilling to occur later in the year.
Success at any of the greenfields prospects could significantly change the scope of Matador’s exploration program and enhance Cape Ray’s potential production profile.
Executive chairman Ian Murray said the rapid progression to diamond drilling has been a credit to Matador’s exploration team.
“This proposed program will be the largest completed by [our] company and we look forward to continuing the positive momentum with auger and diamond drill results over the coming months,” he said.
It is hoped assay turnaround times will be improved with the installation of a mobile sample preparation unit next to Cape Ray’s core processing facility in Port aux Basque.
The unit will be operated by SGS Canada and will allow Matador to bypass current bottlenecks in Canada’s assay laboratory network.
SGS has guaranteed “reliable and reduced turnaround times”, enhancing the efficiency of the exploration program.
In the meantime, Matador is advancing other technical aspects related to Cape Ray including environmental permitting, metallurgical testwork and project development studies.