The largest landholder in the Exploits Subzone of Central Newfoundland now has even more real estate, upping its chances of a major gold discovery as 2021 drilling begins.
Exploits Discovery Corp (CSE:NFLD, FSE:634-FF) this week announced it has acquired the PB Hill property through a 50-50 staking agreement with Crest Resources (CSE:CRES), one of nearly 30 companies that, along with Exploits, are exploring for gold on the Eastern Canadian island/ province of Newfoundland, in a camp that is being compared to Ontario and Quebec’s famous Abitibi Greenstone Belt.
The acquisition nearly doubles Exploits Discovery Corp’s land holdings in the Exploits Gold Belt Area Play, from 2,041 square kilometers to 4,027 km2.
This amount of ground gives Exploits the opportunity to develop multiple targets simultaneously, thereby maximizing its chances for success.
The PB Hill property is located on the southern end of the Exploits Subzone, contiguous to NFLD’s Great Bend project and just southwest of New Found Gold’s Queensway discovery held by New Found Gold (TSXV:NFG), whose exploration in 2019 yielded a drill intersection of 92.86 g/t Au over 19 meters near surface, one of the highest ever seen in the province.
According to NFLD, the geophysical signature of the Property highlights multiple untested distinct en-echelon geophysical structures near an extreme low as indicated by the NL Government residual magnetic survey. These are deemed to be high priority targets.
Previous exploration at PB Hill focused mainly on the highly magnetic mafic/ultramafic rim that hosts numerous significant gold and base metals occurrences, including a historical inferred resource at the Mosquito Hill prospect of 4.47 million tonnes of 0.526 grams per tonne indicated, 32.9Mt of 0.461 g/t Au inferred, located 3 km east of the property boundary.
Other targets on the property’s perimeter, which has been the subject of multiple exploration programs over the past 75 years, include Great Rattling Brook, Lizard Pond South, Lizard Pond North, Breccia Pond, Swan Lake, Chiouk Brook and Brady/Reid Porphyry Zone.
The new, proven model in the Exploits Subzone suggests that gold is transported in primary structures (ie. Dog Bay Line, Appleton Fault) associated with magnetic lows and deposited in secondary and tertiary structures within the siliciclastic sediments of the Davidsville Group.
“Exploits and Crest believe that there is major upside potential for additional discoveries in the Exploits Subzone with the application of the new epizonal geological model. With most areas that stray from major highways virtually unexplored, we believe there is reason to continue to leverage our increased geological understanding in the area and create shareholder value,” the company states in the June 3 news release.
Exploits’ expanded land holding occurs as it embarks on a major drilling campaign focused on five targets, three of which host visible gold at surface with high-grade assays up to 194 g/t Au:
Schooner will be the first target to be drill-tested, followed by the Quinlan Vein prospect within the Dog Bay project.
Central Newfoundland may be one of the most deep-seated structurally prepared environments on the planet. During a period known as the Taconic orogeny that lasted from 480-430 million years ago, the continental plates of Laurentia and Gondwana collided, closing the Iapetus Ocean that lay between them. The islands we now know as Newfoundland, Ireland and Great Britain, were crushed between the continental plates, and deep crustal breaks were created that remained as active fluid conduits for millions of years. The image below shows the five major tectonic breaks that have been traced back to their origins over 400 million years ago and are identifiable across the continents for thousands of kilometers.
These deep crustal breaks are important mineralizing structures for numerous multi-million-ounce gold deposits along these trends.
Dalradian’s Curraghinalt gold deposit in Northern Ireland, OceanaGold’s (TSX:OGC) Haile deposit in Southern Carolina, and Marathon Gold’s (TSX:MOZ) Valentine Lake deposit, which lies just southwest of New Found Gold’s Queensway discovery, all provide evidence that these structures are an integral conduit for gold deposits.
Exploits Gold Belt Area Play
In November 2019, privately owned New Found Gold announced one of the highest-grade, most significant gold intercepts ever drilled in Newfoundland. Hole 19-01 reported a 19-meter intercept of 92.86 grams per tonne gold. The hole sparked a great deal of chatter in the geological community but as a private company there was no knock-on effect in the market. That all changed when NFG started trading on the TSX Venture Exchange. An impressive +$31 million raise on their listing set the stage for an aggressive 100,000-meter, two-stage drill program, to reveal the true value within its Queensway project in the Exploits Gold Belt Area Play.
With little doubt that Newfoundland can deliver world-class deposits from its remarkable structural setting, junior explorers are having no problem funding property acquisitions and staking binges.
“We started pushing really to be an early mover in joint ventures beyond the mile and a half around the Queensway deposit and looking at the Exploit Subzone as a district-scale play,” professional geologist and Exploits’ CEO Michael Collins told me in 2020, soon after becoming chief executive.
According to the company, Modern exploration techniques applied to the property present the opportunity for significant new discoveries. New geological theories suggest that untested historical gold occurrences on the property are controlled by secondary and tertiary structures of the Exploits Subzone, which could lead to discovery. This is the technique that drove the discovery of New Found Gold’s Queensway discovery. The Exploits Subzone is potentially one of the world’s last easily accessible district-scale gold camps.
What makes the Exploits Subzone such a prime target for gold discovery? Prominent regional thrust faulting shows evidence of a long tectonic history including fluid migration. Getting a bit technical, Exploits states,
Trans-compressional strike-slip movement in the regional siliciclastic units underlain by mixed mafic volcanics of the Gander River Ultramafic Belt (GRUB) creates a highly prospective gold environment, exemplified by the Bendigo gold deposit in Victoria (Australia), and Meguma gold deposits (Nova Scotia), which display similar structural and geological controls.
The Exploits Subzone features abundant reactivation features such as sericite seams, iron-rich carbonate hydrothermal alteration and quartz-carbonate veinlets. Historic structurally hosted gold was not adequately tested in the area.
Consider that the majority of Newfoundland’s gold occurrences and exploration, including New Found Gold’s 2019 discovery, lie within the Exploits Subzone and are in the vicinity of the GRUB Line fault, a major crustal structure. All the projects in Exploits’ portfolio are within the Exploits Subzone and the GRUB Line.
The Exploits Subzone and GRUB regions were the focus of major staking and financing throughout 2020, with increased exploration activities in 2021.
Check out the expandable map below, to get an appreciation for all the development companies crowding into the Exploits Gold Belt Area Play. “We are benefiting from an area play to shine a light on our really great projects,” says Collins.
Exploits Subzone District Claim and Mineral Activity Area Play Map
Exploits is moving forward with its 2021 exploration program involving up to 13,500m of drilling at five targets — all of which are very prospective. Three of five host visible gold at surface with impressive grades up to 194 g/t Au.
On May 12, Exploits published news that a previous financing involving billionaire resource investor Eric Sprott, has added New Found Gold — the first mover in the Exploits Gold Belt Area Play.
The 60-cent financing had Eric Sprott and New Found Gold each subscribing for $4 million, doubling Sprott’s investment and bringing his ownership stake in the company to 15.1% on a non-diluted basis. NFG increased its share to 13.6%, non-diluted.
Eric Sprott and New Found Gold have been quietly investing in companies surrounding the Queensway project, taking part in financings like the one recently announced by NFLD, and hoping to secure future ounces.
Exploits’ projects all have comparable geological, geochemical and structural settings to the nearby Queensway discovery held by New Found Gold, ie., the same faults and sub-faults that served as perfect catch basins for gold mineralization as it bubbled up to surface.
It makes sense, therefore, for New Found Gold to want a piece of Exploits Discovery.
Having just acquired another large chunk of the Exploits Subzone, the PB Hill project encompassing nearly 2,000 square kilometers (almost doubling NFLD’s previous land position), can only be a positive for Exploits and its shareholders. It opens up the possibility of more drill targets, as well as more opportunities for discovery and value creation.
Exploits Discovery Corp.
Shares Outstanding 85.5m
Market cap Cdn$69.3m
Richard (Rick) Mills
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