Prosper Gold (TSXV:PGX) has kicked off drilling at its Ashley gold project in central Ontario, roughly seven months after optioning into the property, with results expected out in the fourth quarter.
On Sept. 6, the junior started its initial 7,500-metre program on the 84.6 sq. km project to drill test high-grade vein and bulk tonnage targets. Prosper used soil sampling, airborne geophysical surveys and historical data to identity those targets, adding it will focus on the Ashley claim.
The namesake project contains three claims, including the 14.3 sq. km Ashley claim, which hosts a past-producing gold mine, the 48 sq. km Wydee claim and the 22.3 sq. km Matachewan claim. The latter two cover 30 km of strike of the Cadillac fault system, extending west and east of Alamos Gold’s (TSX:AGI) Young-Davidson gold mine.
Prosper points out the Wydee claim surrounds the Ashley mine and contains several syenite bodies that resemble the Young-Davidson host rocks.
In a release, the company’s CEO Peter Bernier noted the Ashley project is “in the heart of one of Canada’s richest gold camps and has not seen adequate modern exploration in decades.”
Bernier played a notable role in developing Richfield Ventures from 2007 to 2011, until New Gold (TSX: NGD; NYSE AMEX: NGD) bought it for over $500 million for the junior’s Blackwater gold project in B.C.
The Ashley project is in the southwestern part of the Abitibi greenstone belt and the west part of the Cadillac-Larder fault system. Historically, that system churned out a third of the gold produced from the Abitibi belt, Prosper says.
The Ashley mine, discovered in 1930, contains an inclined shaft and six levels, with the deepest level going down to 210 metres below surface. From 1932 to 1937, the mine produced 50,099 oz. gold from 157,636 tons at 0.32 oz. gold per ton (143,000 tonnes at 10.9 grams per tonne) from the main Ashley vein.
Prosper describes the main vein as a “sheeted quartz vein with visible gold, telluride and minor pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite.” It is one of the seven gold bearing veins on the Ashley claim, along with the Garvey, McGill, Sunisloe, Ezra, McCollum, Ashley West and Galahad veins.
Of these, Prosper notes initial drilling will focus on the Ashley-Garvey target area. The Garvey vein, some 1.3 km to the northwest of Ashley, generated a historic 26-ton (23.6 tonne) bulk sample yielding 0.86 oz. gold per ton (29.5 grams per tonne).
The results from the airborne surveys that the junior completed in August showed five north trending topographic breaks in the bedrock over 1.5 km of high ground between the Ashley mine and Garvey showings. Meanwhile, soil results revealed a strong gold-tellurium-bismuth-in-soil anomaly over the Ashley mine. The anomaly extends northward and is 1.8 km long and 300 to 800 metres wide.
Prosper has made good progress on the project, which it has had for less than a year. On Feb. 22, it inked an agreement to earn 100% of the Ashley gold mine from four prospectors. Under the agreement, it has to pay $700,000, 1.7 million shares and complete $700,000 in work expenditures over three years. Once completed, the prospectors will retain a 3% net smelter return royalty, of which the company could buy back 2% for $2.5 million.
Three days later, Prosper entered into an option agreement with Alexandria Minerals (TSXV: AZX) to acquire a 90% interest in the Wydee and Matachewan claims. The agreement calls for the company to pay 750,000 shares and spend $5 million over five years to earn a 75% interest. Prosper could earn another 15% by tabling a resource estimate of 1.5 million oz. gold.
Since optioning into the project, Prosper has raised nearly $2.5 million in private placements. It also signed an agreement in April to acquire 100% of the 13.5 sq. km Galahad leases from JCML Resources by paying $50,000 and 100,000 shares. Galahad sits 2.5 km southwest of the Ashley mine and increases the company’s Ontario land position to 98 sq. km.