Maple Gold Mines (TSXV: MGM; US-OTC: MGMLF) has completed its first drill campaign on its Douay gold project in Quebec since assembling a technical committee and exploration team a year ago. The company drilled 22,600 metres and extended mineralization within the deposit area, and discovered new gold zones.
Nearly three-quarters of the drill program was within or near the known 6 by 1.8 km resource and focused on building on the core project area. The other 30% explored the 377 sq. km land package, probing greenfield targets with shallow, reverse-circulation drilling and tested targets with initial diamond drilling.
The company plans to update the resource estimate in the first quarter of 2019, but for now, Douay’s indicated resource stands at 9.38 million tonnes grading 1.59 grams gold per tonne for 479,000 oz. gold. Inferred resources add 84.2 million tonnes at 1.02 grams gold for 2.75 million oz. gold. The estimate, last updated in February, uses a base case cut-off grade of 0.45 gram gold.
The 2018 drill program consisted of 21,100 metres of diamond drilling from 52 holes, and another 1,500 metres from 57 shallow reverse-circulation holes.
The property strikes over 55 km along the Casa Berardi deformation zone, and much of the ground has seen little previous exploration work.
During the winter drill program, shallow drilling in the westernmost part of the property defined gold-in-till anomalies in three areas, with nearby source areas supported by bedrock geochemistry anomalies, Friedrich Speidel, the company’s vice-president of exploration, told The Northern Miner via email.
Diamond drill testing of several greenfield targets west and east of the resource area showed geochemistry anomalies that warrant more work, with the easternmost target (called “NE Syenite”) showing lithogeochemistry responses similar to those in the resource area, Speidel says.
Within the resource area, the company drilled mainly in the Northwest Gap area and in the Porphyry zone, particularly in areas where drill density was low. This led to the discovery of mineralized zones, the most important of which was Nika.
The Nika zone was found in an area that did not previously support a conceptual pit, Speidel says, noting that the best intercept in the zone was 18-28, which cut 50 metres of 1.77 grams gold per tonne. The zone is open up-dip and down-dip, and will be tested in Maple Gold’s early 2019 drill program.
The company also cut higher-than-expected grade intervals in its Porphyry zone, with 52 metres of 3.53 grams gold in hole 18-216 and 21 metres of 3.49 grams gold in hole 18-247. Both holes had visible gold in late, irregular, glassy quartz veinlets, in contrast with the very fine-grained gold that characterizes mineralization throughout much of the property, Speidel says. Several of the intercepts obtained in the Porphyry zone are open down-dip and down-plunge, and will be tested in future drill campaigns.
The geologist notes that updated cross- and long-sections, level plans and a new 3-D geological model are being finalized. These show a steep, southwest plunge for higher-grade shoots within otherwise tabular mineralized envelopes, he says.
In mid-year, Maple Gold Mines also completed mapping and sampling, which generated more geochemical target areas in the central third of the property. These will be followed up with extra geophysics in the coming months.
“The greenfields work and commitment to property-wide exploration is all part of Maple Gold’s discovery model philosophy,” Speidel says, “which includes allocating an effective portion of exploration budgets towards making new discoveries across the company’s more than 350 sq. km property.
“We are excited about further resource expansion potential at Douay,” he adds. “In addition, given the various deposit styles located within 30 km to the east and west of our property boundary and the limited historical exploration work completed within the greenfield areas at Douay, as well as the number of new targets we have been able to define in 2018, we believe the potential to discover new volcanogenic massive sulphides (VMS), intrusive-related and/or orogenic-gold styles of mineralization across the property remains excellent.”
Most of the gold at Douay is associated with a syenite gold system that forms part of a 7 km long trend of mineralized zones. These zones are found within the central part of the project’s strike length, which stretches for 55 km along the Casa Berardi deformation zone.
The intrusive-related mineralization style is also present at several other gold deposits that have been found in recent years, such as Canadian Malartic, now owned by Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) and Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY), 157 km south of Douay; Osisko Mining’s (TSX: OSK) Windfall project, between Val-d’Or and Chibougamau in the Abitibi region of Quebec; and Alamos Gold’s (TSX: AGI; NYSE: AGI) Young-Davidson mine, 60 km west of Kirkland Lake in northern Ontario.
Douay 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.
The gold project is also 50 km north of the past-producing Sleeping Giant mine, an orogenic gold deposit, and 66 km south of Selbaie, a VMS deposit.
Speidel notes that the company’s new sets of cross- and long-sections, level plans and a 3-D model will help target mineralized zone extensions and test new ones. The exploration team already has a list of high-priority drill targets and the permitting process has started. Budgets and definitive drill plans will be finalized later in December.
Matthew Hornor, Maple Gold Mines’ president and CEO, noted that in addition to working on updating a resource early next year, the company is also “exploring potential partnerships with major gold miners, as the industry enters another mergers and acquisitions cycle.”
At press time, Maple Gold Mines’ shares were trading at 9.5¢ in a 52-week range of 9¢ to 34¢. It has 208.5-million common shares outstanding for a $18.7-million market capitalization.