VANCOUVER — Mawson Resources (TSX: MAW) has expanded the gold-mineralization footprint at its Rajapalot project in northern Finland, according to the company’s latest results from its ongoing 10,000-metre drill program.
The results have pushed the western, southern and eastern margins of a hydrothermal gold-bearing system to 1.2 km along strike and 400 metres deep, as highlighted by intercepts of 12 metres grading 1.2 grams gold per tonne and 6 metres of 2 grams gold.
Another hole, positioned 75 metres southwest of a 56-metre intercept grading 0.53 gram gold, hit 5 metres of 1.2 grams gold, and is the southernmost hole at Rajapalot to date.
“We’re not just sticking around a small, known area,” Mawson president and CEO Michael Hudson tells The Northern Miner during a phone interview. “We’re really stepping out to define if we have a system of scale.”
The mineralization, which the company says was driven by granitoid intrusions, is similar to what’s seen at the project’s Palokas target, 1.8 km north, where a 2013 discovery drill hole cut 9.5 metres at 7.4 grams gold from 1.3 metres deep.
Magnetite and pyrrhotite — both iron-bearing sulphide minerals — are often found with the gold, Hudson says, which means the company can use magnetic geophysical surveys to target more zone extensions.
For years, Hudson has raved about the exploration potential of Finland and Sweden’s Fennoscandian shield — a package of Archean- to Proterozoic-aged rocks that are almost identical to those found in the gold-prolific regions of Ontario and Quebec.
The discovery of nuggety, high-grade gold and uraninite veins over a 6 km trend at Rompas, 8 km west of Rajapalot, led to the company’s maiden drill program in 2010, which outlined 6 metres of 617 grams gold near surface.
Although the results are encouraging, Hudson says getting the permits to advance Rompas has proven challenging. The mineralization falls within a Natura 2000 biodiversity site that covers a breeding and resting area for rare and threatened species. Over 14% of Finland is covered in Natura 2000 biodiversity sites, whereas in the north, the protected land packages cover 30%.
Hudson says that development within Natura sites across Europe does occur, with examples including Dundee Precious Metals’ (TSX: DPM) Krumovgrad gold project in Bulgaria, and Anglo American’s (US-OTC: AAUKF; LON: AAL) Sakatti copper-nickel-platinum group metals project in Finland.
Mawson is permitted to drill within Natura areas using large-scale rigs in the Finnish wintertime, but are restricted with using hand-portable rigs during the summer. Swampy conditions can also pose problems when mobilizing equipment into other parts of the property, he adds.
“Most of the gold we’ve found to date is in Natura areas, so we’re putting a lot of effort in finding extensions of the mineralization beyond those boundaries and into areas where we’re able to drill [mid-year],” he says.
While the company awaits new permits for Rompas, five drill rigs are pushing the mineralization at Rajapalot. Assay results from 23 holes are still pending, while 10 holes on the project remain to be tested.
“Our story has been around for the past five years, so there are expectations for us to monetize the property and put resources together quickly — but we’re not going down that path yet. We’ve found thousands of boulders with ore grades over 100 sq. km, and it’s highly unlikely that we’ve found the best parts of the system,” he says. “Most, if not all the mines in the country, are found in areas with outcrop and 99% of the country is undercover, so we know there’s a lot more left to find.”
Aurion Resources (TSXV: AU), another explorer in Finland, shares a similar story. The prospect generator uncovered gold-rich sub-crop within a 700- by 1,100-metre-wide area at its Risti project in northern Finland, as announced on Feb. 1.
Out of the 133 rock samples collected from quartz-tourmaline blocks at surface, 36 assayed greater than 31 grams gold per tonne. Many blocks were larger than 1 metre, locally reaching up to 3.5 metres.
“Finland is like a new little Klondike,” Hudson says. “We were thrilled to see the results Aurion had, and it certainly gave us momentum, as we’re the oldest story there. Now we see a lot of new players coming in, and it can only help.”
Mawson plans to keep a “steady news flow” over the coming months, with more work planned on expanding the targets. Hudson adds that the company is well-financed, and expects to finish its drill program with $4.5 million in the bank.
Shares of Mawson have traded within a 52-week range of 21¢ to 57¢, and closed at 40¢ at press time. The company has 105.3 million shares outstanding for a $42.1-million market capitalization.