Maple Gold Mines (TSXV: MGM; US-OTC: MGMLF) has just finished a winter drill program at its Douay gold project in the Abitibi greenstone belt of northwestern Quebec. The company completed 21,100 metres of diamond drilling in 52 holes and 1,500 metres of reverse-circulation (RC) drilling in 57, short, top-of-bedrock holes.
The program started in January, and Maple ramped up the number of drill rigs as it received more permits.
In April it closed a $3.95-million private placement at the then market price with no warrants.
The financing was almost exclusively Quebec funds and insiders. At the closing, Quebec-funded ownership in the company on an undiluted basis increased from 3% to 10%.
Many of the investors helped fund and develop the Canadian Malartic mine, now owned by Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) and Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY).
The Douay project has 479,000 indicated oz. gold (9.38 million tonnes grading 1.59 grams gold) and 2.75 million inferred oz. gold (84.15 million tonnes grading 1.02 grams gold). The project is 81 km east of Hecla Mining’s (NYSE: HL) Casa Berardi gold mine and 123 km southeast of Detour Gold’s (TSX: DGC) Detour Lake gold mine in Ontario.
Most of the gold found at Douay so far is associated with a syenite gold system that forms part of a 7 km long trend of mineralized zones. These zones are located in the central part of the project’s strike length, which stretches 55 km along the Casa Berardi deformation zone. Douay’s intrusive-related mineralization style is also present at several other deposits that have been discovered in recent years, including Canadian Malartic, Osisko Mining’s (TSX: OSK) Windfall project and Alamos Gold’s (TSX: AGI; NYSE: AGI) Young-Davidson mine.
The Northern Miner recently spoke with Maple Gold’s vice-president of exploration, Friedrich Speidel.
The Northern Miner: Will you drill any more before year-end?
Friedrich Speidel: That’s it for the winter program. I wouldn’t say for the entire year. Chances are, we will want to add more metres before the year is out, and we do have the necessary permits in place. For now, core sawing is ongoing, with the majority of assays still pending from the current program, so we have significant results expected between now and July, and we have plenty of new data to process and to evaluate before we design the next drill campaign.
TNM: In April you announced that you had defined a new gold zone.
FS: Yes. We’ve already achieved initial success from the newly defined Nika zones, which form part of the northwest gap area, between the Douay West, Northwest (NW) and Porphyry zones. We were targeting that area because there is less drilling, and there’s a lot of potential to add ounces to the resource base.
We are very happy with the fact that the Nika zones include a completely new mineralized area, and that existing zones have been extended to the NW as a result of 2018 drilling. Our initial press release for this area highlighted results for the bottom of drill hole 18-218, and we were keeping our fingers crossed, waiting for the assays from the top 400 metres of that same drill hole, as the core looked promising. We ended up getting 50 metres of 1.77 grams gold per tonne from 297 metres downhole, so that was very encouraging. It confirmed the continuity of the existing high-grade zone, and also let us link up previously discontinuous zones, applying our updated structural model.
TNM: Are you optimistic there are more zones to be found at Douay?
FS: We’re still finding new gold zones, and many of these are proving to have more continuity than previously thought. At the Nika zones, all mineralization is outside of the existing pit-constrained resource, and so we will add to the resource base for the resource update planned for late 2018. We have also found mineralized areas in the NW and Porphyry zones.
We’ve also had some success on the south side of the Porphyry Zone. We had a 158-metre intercept grading 1.25 grams gold per tonne, and that is one of the best intercepts of all time at the Douay property, so we’re clearly excited about that. This is not a new zone. It’s part of an existing one, but it is higher grade than anticipated, so we’re seeing grade variations laterally. There are also indications of the possibility that grade increases at depth here. This particular high-grade zone is open updip and downdip, and we’ve got additional drilling in this area, for which assays are pending.
TNM: Can you see any patterns?
FS: There is a structural pattern that is starting to emerge, with intersections between the east–west faults of the Casa Berardi fault set and the northwest–southeast faults of the Douay fault set showing particular potential for increased thickness of mineralization. These intersections appear to explain at least part of the pinch-and-swell morphology of several of the mineralized zones.
We view these results very positively and believe the assays between now and July will continue to confirm these, as well as additional zones of interest. We look forward to updating the geological, structural and resource block models between now and year-end.
TNM: What other work do you have planned this year?
FS: We will also do mapping and sampling programs mid-year in the central part of the property, as well as limited geophysics. All of this work — combined with ongoing compilation of historic information we have in new areas of interest — will help us define targets for the next drill campaign.
Roughly 30% of our total diamond and RC drilling focused on discovery targets in greenfield areas along the extensions of structures (Casa Berardi and Douay fault sets) known to control mineralization, as well as between these structures, where we are continuing to define new exploration targets.
The property itself straddles a 55 km section of the Casa Berardi deformation zone, where it is widest. The initial results from the resource area drilling have been promising. We are equally excited about the potential for discoveries that could define brand-new zones several kilometres away along the same Casa Berardi break. Assays are still pending for the greenfield drill holes.