Having revised its mining and investment laws after almost 25 years of socialist rule, a new era of mineral exploration appears to be dawning in this East African republic. Poised to take advantage of the changing political and economic climate is Pangea Goldfields (TSE), which holds a number of prospective properties in the Lake Victoria goldfield district.
The Northern Miner recently visited two of these projects, Golden Ridge and Bulyanhulu South.
The Golden Ridge property is located about 100 km south of Mwanza, and consists of four licenses totalling over 300 sq. km.
The property hosts a folded banded iron formation (BIF) which has been traced for over 15 km by a detailed airborne magnetic survey. Three facies of iron formation are present: oxide, sulphide and carbonate. About 8 km of the iron formation outcrops in six north-northeast trending linear ridges. Although portions of the property are locally being exploited by artisanal miners, Anton Esterhuizen, Pangea’s Tanzanian exploration manager, points out that the company is working an area “that hasn’t been explored in over 30 years.” Two styles of mineralization are present within the BIF: gold associated with disseminated pyrite and pyrrhotite, and gold in quartz veins. Most of the sulphide-bearing mineralization is heavily oxidized to a depth of 65 metres. Two sets of mineralized veins have been noted. The youngest set occurs at right angles to the BIF (east-west striking), dips steeply, and is 0.4-0.6 metres in width. The second set strikes north-south, dips shallowly to the east and is 1.2-1.5 metres wide.
The gold content of the veins has yet to be fully evaluated, but it is believed that artisanal miners are recovering up to 17 grams gold per tonne from these zones.
Another potential mineralized target is the intersection of the flat veins with the contact between the BIF and enclosing volcanic rocks. Pangea has excavated trenches across the BIF every 150 metres along 3 km of strike length. All of the trenches contain gold, with channel samples yielding values ranging from 3.24 grams over 13 metres up to 26 grams over 8 metres.
Reconnaissance diamond drilling is under way on the property, and at the time of the site visit, the company was drilling the fourth hole in a 2,000-metre program. According to President Jean-Charles Potvin, the diamond drilling is basically “orientation work,” designed to aid in geological interpretation. In addition to the core drilling, Potvin says that a 2,000-metre reverse circulation program will begin shortly to evaluate the open-pit potential of the oxide mineralization.
The Bulyanhulu South project is located about 40 km northwest of the Golden Ridge property, and consists of three licenses totalling 150 sq. km. The licenses cover the strike extension of the Bulyanhulu gold deposit of Sutton Resources (VSE), which contains an estimated resource of up to 1.5 million oz. gold.
Mineralization on the Sutton property occurs in sets of parallel to subparallel quartz-sulphide “reefs” or veins. The “reefs,” which appear to be 200 metres apart, are composed of silica with minor graphite and sulphide. It is unclear whether the “reefs” are actually epigenetic veins, or represent mineralized chemical sedimentary horizons.
Pangea’s exploration efforts to date have concentrated on the first 7 km immediately south of the Sutton ground. Since the mineralization has no outcrop expression, Pangea has had to rely heavily on magnetic and electromagnetic (EM) surveys, and geochemical sampling of lateritic material. The sampling program outlined a number of broad gold anomalies with values up to 9 grams. Several copper anomalies were also delineated, which broadly follow the gold targets. Most of the geochemical anomalies also have coincident magnetic and EM signatures.
Pangea is planning a 2,000-metre reverse-circulation drill program to test the geochemical anomalies down to the saprolitic horizon. Anomalous areas will then be diamond drilled.
In addition to the Golden Ridge and Bulyanhulu South properties, Pangea holds 35 other mining licenses covering about 2,950 sq. km.
All of the company’s projects are either wholly owned or optioned from local Tanzanian companies, with the optionees retaining a 3% net smelter return royalty. By the end of 1995, Potvin estimates that exploration expenditures on the Tanzanian properties will total about $3 million.
Meanwhile, back in Ontario, a 10,000-metre drill program is under way at the company’s Fenn-Gibb gold project near Matheson. Initial drill results from this program suggest good down-plunge continuity of the West Deformation Zone. Pangea also has two claim blocks adjoining Placer Dome’s (TSE) Musselwhite gold project north of Pickle Lake. These properties will be drill-tested next winter.
Pangea is well financed, with $7.5 million in cash. The company currently has about 13 million shares outstanding and, at press time, was trading at $3.60.