The gold price may have languished slightly in 2021, but the number of gold IPOs certainly has not.
Here’s what the newest ASX gold explorers are doing, where they are doing it, and why investors should care.
The dual listed explorer’s main focus is ‘Trundle’, the only brownfield project held by a listed junior in the porphyry-rich Macquarie Arc in NSW, part of the Lachlan Fold Belt (LFB).
Trundle sits in the same rocks as from the mammoth Northparkes copper-gold operation, which is Australia’s second-largest porphyry mine hosting 4.5Mt copper and 5.5Moz gold.
Over 92% of prior drilling at Trundle had been to less than 50 metres depth with just 11 holes beyond 300 metres (0.5% of holes drilled).
Kincora’s first hole hit 51m at 1.17 g/t gold and 0.54 per cent copper from 39m, including a higher grade 20.5m section grading 1.94 g/t gold and 1.18% copper from 57.6m.
“It’s not often you see such high grades near surface within a porphyry environment,” said Kincora’s John Holliday, who was also principal discoverer of the world-class Cadia deposit.
With $12m in the bank, the company plans to drill a minimum of over 17,000m across three projects in the LFB in the next 12 months as part of a much larger 34,000m drilling program.
Two rigs are currently spinning at Trundle, with assay results expected shortly. Advanced preparations are being made for drilling at the ‘Nyngan’ and ‘Fairholme’ projects.
AGC also holds three advanced gold and copper projects in the Lachlan Fold Belt of NSW.
It’s near term plan is to move the drill rig as quickly as possible across seven near surface gold and copper targets.
The explorer has already completed three drilling programs since IPO, with first results expected in the coming weeks.
The explorer is prepping a big 32km-long drilling program to grow resources at the 674,000oz Ravensthorpe gold project.
Drilling of known deposits only goes to ~300m below surface, “which is relatively shallow for Archean gold lodes”, the company says.
“We’re looking forward to commencing the first significant drilling at the project in many years and the reporting of drill results during the next quarter, which I’m confident will contribute to rapidly expanding our existing mineral resources,” managing director Paul Bennett said March 25.
The Chile-focused gold and copper explorer has three projects including ‘Capote’.
Capote is home to the historic San Juan gold mine, where 500,000 ounces of gold was produced at an ore grade of 40 grams per tonne through to 1954.
That’s a very, very high grade gold operation.
Existing resources are ‘open’ in all directions, the company says.
“In the coming months, we will deploy a systematic exploration program, including detailed geological mapping, surface geochemistry, airborne magnetic and hyperspectral data,” the company says.
“We are confident this will provide a new perspective and help unlock the potential of one of Chile’s great high-grade gold mining districts at Capote.”
The explorer/project developer’s key asset is a 50% interest in the 4.24moz Central Norseman gold project, a historic gold operation in the Goldfields of WA.
The other 50% is held by Pantoro (ASX:PNR) which acquired that interest from Tulla via a farm‑in and joint venture agreement (FJVA).
Once Pantoro has sole funded the first $50m of exploration spending, the two companies will form a JV to bring this monster project into production.
The seven-year, Phase One project at Central Norseman would cost $89m to build and produce an average 108,000oz per year.
Less than 30% of existing resources have been considered for Phase One.
And at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,281/oz — placing it in the bottom half of the cost curve for Australian/New Zealand gold mines – Central Norseman could be a real money-maker.
Between five and seven drill rigs are now on site to double the ore reserve (from ~600Koz to ~1.2Moz) through 100,000 metres of additional drilling.
The explorer owns three projects in the WA goldfields including ‘Munda’, which has a current inferred resource estimate of 173,700oz gold.
Shortly after buying Munda in September last year Auric realised the resource could be substantially upgraded.
A 27-hole drilling program, which started the day after Auric listed on the ASX in February, was recently completed with a total of 3664m drilled.
They include an intercept of 13m at 14.62g/t from 60m depth, which in turn included 1m at 137.4g/t from 65m – one of the best hits ever returned from Munda, Auric says.
Assay results are pending for the final 13 holes.
On March 15 it announced shallow and high grade gold hits from early stage drilling at ‘Mulgabbie North’ in WA.
Highlights included 4m at 6.3g/t from 48m to end of hole.
These first 31 holes are just the beginning of OzAurum’s initial 30,000m AC drilling campaign, it says.
“The company is excited that we have intersected these high-grade AC intercepts so early on in our large-scale drilling campaign,” chief exec Andrew Pumphrey says.
“This new zone of gold mineralisation discovered by aircore drilling is situated 100m west of our current RC drilling at Mulgabbie North.
“This area is under transported cover that has prevented previous effective exploration, and now represents a significant exploration opportunity for the company.”
Managing director Mike Dunbar is a proven mine finder and builder — he was involved in the discovery and development of the +2moz Thunderbox gold mine, the delineation and development of the +1Moz Dalgaranga gold mine, and the discovery and delineation of the +1Moz Glenburgh gold deposit.
There’s more, but we’ve run out of space.
The Darling Range project – a proverbial stone’s throw from Chalice’s (ASX:CHN) world-class Julimar nickel-copper-PGE discovery — will be the first of the company’s four projects to receive attention.
The Great Southern project, home of the historic Calyerup Creek gold mine (where past gold intersections include 9m at 4.71 grams per tonne gold, 9m at 2.63g/t and 5m at 4.77g/t), will also be drilled early in the piece.
Winners & Losers
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Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.