High-sensitivity geochemistry has characterised up to 12 key pathfinder elements associated with known gold deposits at Matador Mining’s (ASX: MZZ) Cape Ray gold project in Canada.
The technique was applied for the first time last year at the Newfoundland-based project and is believed to have delivered a “step-change” in the company’s understanding of detectable footprints associated with hydrothermal gold systems.
Matador said the pathfinder signal extends up to 100m from a significant gold intercept and comprises low level anomalism in bismuth, lead, tungsten, copper, molybdenum, arsenic and zinc.
This intermediate to distal footprint is considered key to effectively and efficiently exploring through the shallow glacial till cover at Cape Ray, as it provides a much larger footprint than that which can be detected with broad-spaced basement geochemical sampling.
Historical basement sampling and diamond drilling has only been able to target outcropping mineralisation covering less than 10% of the total project area.
Pathfinder elements have been considered a key tool in defining the gold mineralisation at the Cape Ray deposits and unlocking their greenfields exploration potential.
The elements could materially improve Matador’s ability to explore the area by identifying anomalisms associated with “near-misses” in basement samples and providing vectors to the gold mineralisation.
The same geochemistry technique has helped facilitate a quantitative classification of alteration mineralogy and intensity at the project, as well as host rock types under the glacial till.
The wealth of information gathered will help Matador improve its geological mapping and exploration targeting models in Newfoundland’s challenging terrain.
Matador exploration manager Warren Potma said the geochemistry technique was successful in its objective of locating pathfinder elements.
“Defining these mineralisation footprints increases the probability of determining the direction to gold mineralisation from broad-spaced basement sampling, particularly for those targets under the till cover,” he said.
“We are currently planning the first systematic [geochemical] sampling of basement rocks beneath the cover at the project.”
The maiden sampling program will employ purpose-built, all terrain vehicle-mounted Winkie drills designed to enhance efficiency, speed and depth of drilling.
The units have been constructed in collaboration with drilling partner Major’s Contracting and will allow for rapid, cost-effective and systematic first-pass sampling of high-ranked, regional greenfields targets.
Mr Potma expects the Winkie drills will result in a “step-change in exploration productivity and effectiveness” with the added benefits of increasing diamond drilling hit-rates and reducing discovery timelines and costs.
“We have five high-priority structural target areas which have never been drill tested, and at least 27 more targets identified along the 120km strike length of this project,” he said.
“The drills will pinpoint the ‘sweet spot’ within each target for follow-up exploration, and allow us to confidently rule out those targets not worthy of more expensive diamond drilling.”
He said the sampling program combined with detailed aeromagnetics will continue to refine targeting priorities and add to the pipeline of new targets across the Cape Ray project.