Four months after teaming up with mid-tier gold producer St Barbara (ASX: SBM), junior explorer Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) has announced the completion of a soil and rock chip geochemical sampling program at the Horn Island gold project in Queensland’s Torres Strait.
The sampling program is part of maiden works for the joint venture, which was formed in June when St Barbara inked a deal to earn a 70% stake in the project by sole funding $4 million of expenditure in three years.
A total of 407 soil and 174 quartz vein rock chip samples were collected with assay results expected within the next month.
According to Alice Queen, the rock chip samples have revealed an extensive zone of quartz-sulphide and quartz-only veins, with associated sericite-chlorite alteration, extending about 2km to the northwest from the company’s inferred 492,000-ounce gold resource at Horn Island.
In addition, the distribution of quartz veins correlates with a series of northwest trending aeromagnetic low anomaly trends, which cover about 1.6sq km and are interpreted as primary hydrothermal fluid pathway structures for potential gold mineralisation.
Alice Queen said the composition of the quartz vein rock chips and other textual observations across the sampling area also appear consistent with vein features found in and around the Horn Island gold resource.
Upcoming IP survey
The next step in the maiden joint venture works program is a ground induced polarisation (IP) survey, which Alice Queen said would commence “shortly”.
The survey will cover the zone of extensive quartz veining and recent geochemical surveying to identify near-surface to deeply occurring chargeability anomalies, which may be caused by sulphide minerals associated with gold mineralisation.
The IP survey will be conducted by Fender Geophysics, with Resources Potentials Pty Ltd acting as an independent geophysical consultant. It is anticipated to run for about 32 days.
Once completed, the St Barbara-Alice Queen joint venture technical group will interpret the new results in conjunction with existing exploration data to undertake a further target generation and ranking exercise.
Joint venture arrangement
Under the joint venture, St Barbara has the right to earn a 70% interest in the two exploration permits making up the Horn Island project by sole funding $4 million within 36 months.
However, areas of the project that are excluded from the earn-in rights include the historic Horn Island pit area, where Alice Queen has an existing mineral resource of 7.96 million tonnes at 1.9 grams per tonne of gold for 492,000 ounces of gold.
Other excluded areas include the existing process water dam, historic tailings area and proposed areas for a future mining operation and mining camp.
The terms of the deal state St Barbara must spend $500,000 in the first year of the joint venture.
In August, Alice Queen announced the commencement of the maiden works program, which included the soil infill program as well as the geophysical induced polarisation (IP) survey.
Alice Queen’s 84.5% owned subsidiary Kauraru Gold Pty Ltd has the right to continue with its 30% share of further expenditure to maintain its equity position through to production.
By early afternoon trade, Alice Queen shares were up 15.79% to $0.044. St Barbara shares were 4% higher at $2.86.