Prudent Minerals (CSE:PRUD) is on an exciting exploration journey to develop the highly prospective ABE gold project in Colombia, located 70 kilometers south of Medellin in the Department of Antioquia.
ABE covers approximately 4,500 hectares, including the Purimac gold mine.
The Canadian Stock Exchange-listed company has just filed an NI 43-101 independent technical report on its flagship property, which boasts an exploration target estimated to be up to 6.3 million tonnes, with potential grades of 5 to 15 grams per tonne gold.
ABE is under option to Berlin Precious Metals Corp., which is being acquired by the company as previously announced on Dec. 30, 2022.
The project lies adjacent to the Romeral Fault system and the Middle Cauca Metallogenic Belt of north-central Colombia, which hosts several large-scale gold and copper-gold deposits, including: La Colosa (+28Moz), Marmato (+17Moz), Buritica (+11Moz), and the Segovia District, which has over 3 million ounces.
Gold mineralization at ABE is hosted in quartz veins in an orogenic/mesothermal setting, analogous to the past-producing Berlin gold deposit, located 150 km to the north. The Berlin Mine produced 413,000 ounces from 1936 to 1946 in an identical geological setting.
According to the technical report, completed on Dec. 17, 2022, the ABE project is located on the western side of the Central Cordillera within a belt of metamorphic rocks known as the Cajamarca Complex. This complex surrounds the Antioquia Batholith, which, along with a group of smaller granitic batholiths and stocks, are host to a multitude of gold deposits. As mentioned, the geological setting is analogous to that in the Berlin-Rosario Gold District located approximately 150 km northwest, in similar metamorphic rocks surrounding the batholith.
Native gold was likely mined from alluvial sediments in streams by indigenous peoples before the arrival of the Spanish in Colombia in 1499. By the mid-1700s the Spanish had established communities and mining operations in this area. Old surface workings on the Purimac vein system are thought to have been carried out around 1750. Small-scale underground and surface mining has continued intermittently ever since. Notwithstanding the long mining history, there is no known historical resource or reserve estimates for the ABE gold project.
Exploration by Berlin Precious Metals included mapping at the Purimac mine, LIDAR, and geochemistry over 119 hectares within the ABE mining concession, identifying gold targets in parallel and sub-parallel geologic structures and 7 historical gold mines. Highlight gold values of 3.4 g/t in surface soil samples and 6.61 g/t in historical mines have been recorded. Berlin has reportedly spent over $0.5 million in exploration over the past two years.
The gold mining currently being done through a co-operative of regional land owners does not involve geological or production sampling, nor does it utilize grade control assays. The current method of determining which material will be processed, is done by first taking a small sample of the vein material extracted underground. This material is then hand-crushed and hand-panned to yield any visible gold. If there is visible gold it is run through the mill, while material in the pan not showing visible gold is discarded.
So far, exploration has been designed to enhance the understanding of the gold mineralization currently exploited at the Purimac gold mine. Rock sampling at the mine has shown that the quartz veins host gold mineralization with values exceeding 100 g/t over 1.8m.
This mineralization, located along a 30-meter-wide structural corridor, has been traced for over 2 km, and mined underground over 17 levels and the historical gold mines span over 2 km along strike; it remains open in all directions. The mined mineralized shoots averaged 26 g/t Au, with highlight muck grab samples of 96 g/t.
Extensive soil geochemistry and geophysical programs were conducted from November 2021 through to October 2022. A total of 167 samples were tabulated from surface, underground and mill feed or concentrate sampling. Elevated gold values have been returned from sampling with 131 of the 167 samples collected thus far returning values greater than 1 gram per tonne of gold. Highlights include 162 g/t Au, 80.37 g/t Au, and 97.33 g/t Au, all over 1 meter.
A ground magnetic survey covering 137 ha, done in 2022, indicates a strong correlation between gold mineralization and magnetic highs. The historical mines and Purimac mine all correlate to the magnetic highs. The magnetic survey also indicates potential to the south, along the projected strike length of the Purimac Mineralized Shear Zone.
The Purimac veins appear continuous and are projected with orientations that are coincidental with seven historical workings (Figure 2), soil geochemistry, ground magnetics and induced polarization resistivity responses. This trend extends over 1,600m, spans a width of approximately 680m, and is open in all directions.
Prudent has identified an exploration target from work to date and the results of underground rock sampling. According to the technical report, the assumptions are based on the size and extent of the historical workings, which occur between 1,600 and 1,350 meters above sea level. The targeted quartz veins hosted in the Purimac shear outlined by the coincidental northeast trending magnetometer and IP resistivity, suggest a strike length of 1,600 meters, however for the report, 800 meters was used. The four quartz veins identified in the underground workings have widths ranging from 1 to 3 meters and estimated true widths of 0.90 to 2.90 meters. A specific gravity of 2.72 is estimated for the quartz.
Using these parameters, the Purimac vein set represents an exploration target of 2,000,000 to 6,300,000 tonnes, with potential grades of 5 to 15 grams of gold per tonne.
“Prudent is very pleased to acquire the ABE gold project with the independent technical report outlining an impressive exploration target of up to 6.3 million tonnes with potential high grades up to 15.0 g/t gold, clearly demonstrating the large-scale potential,” Prudent President Brett Matich said in the March 2 news release. He added:
“Prudent is currently focused on defining the strike potential and continuation of the Purimac gold vein system from the underground mine to surface, initially through an extensive soil geochemistry program, also advancing delineation of drill targets.”
Sampling is underway over the 1,600m by 680m zone, with the objective of extending the underground Purimac vein system and delineating drill targets (Figure 3).
Mapping of the +1500m of the Purimac and historic mines are well in progress. These workings connect to even older historical mine workings dating back to 1751. The Purimac mine contains four shoots of mineralization, of which three have been intensely mined above the main level and are untouched below the main level. Newly discovered Shoot 4 is open above, below and to the north of the currently advancing drift.
A ground-induced polarization (IP) survey is now completed showing a southern strike length extension of the known Purimac Mineralized Shear Zone. The survey consisted of 27 line kilometers, with lines spaced 100m and 200m apart.
According to Prudent, the geologic model indicates that the Purimac Mineralized Shear Zone has multiple veins containing high-grade mineralized shoots. The model will be used to pick high-potential drill targets.
Prudent has the right to earn 100% of the ABE project through the acquisition of Berlin Precious Metals, which is anticipated to close within the next fiscal quarter.
The land on which the project sits is owned by a co-operative of regional landowners who are currently operating the Purimac mine through a mix of hand-mining and small-scale mechanization.
Along with ABE, Prudent also has the SAT project, an exploration-stage porphyry copper-gold prospect located in west-central British Columbia. SAT lies 12 km southwest of the Bell copper-gold porphyry deposit and 13 km west of the Granisle copper-gold porphyry deposit, both of which were past producers of copper-gold-silver concentrate.
SAT has been explored to the drilling stage and drill permits are current being applied for.
Prudent Minerals is a tightly held (24 million shares o/s) gold junior with a very intriguing project, working in Colombia, considered one of the best jurisdictions for mining the precious metal.
Despite not yet having a resource estimate, quite a bit of work has been done at ABE, including over $0.5 million spent on exploration by Berlin Precious Metals. Prudent has about $1 million in the treasury and Matich says they will be able to conduct the next work program without having to raise funds. The company plans to bring in a large portable tracked drill rig that can be easily moved from hole to hole.
There are all kinds of adits, tunnels and stopes but the basic fact is that previous exploration has only touched a small piece of the overall land package. Prudent President, Brett Matich told me in an interview this week that the goal is to build up a bulk-tonnage, open-pit scenario.
“The important thing is what’s happening on strike, we know we’re going to improve the strike and also the width,” he said, noting there is more work to be done in terms of delineation drilling, “because you want to pick up the multi veins.”
“You’ll see some new stuff come out on the grades but we’re focusing on the bulk tonnage side to get +1 g/t, is what we’re targeting.”
The company will also be investigating the potential linkage between all the adits and historical pits on surface.
“It’s small small-time mining but it’s spread over 2 km, in particular the Purimac mine is a lot more sophisticated, it’s deeper, and it’s been operating for a long time,” said Matich, adding “you want to pick up vein system coming up from underground to surface.” The co-op miners are limited in how deep they can mine by the water table, something that shouldn’t concern Prudent when they drill.
Overall I see Prudent and its ABE gold play in Colombia as a very interesting project. Stay tuned for more news as Prudent gets to work on its 2023 field program.
Prudent Minerals Corp.
Shares Outstanding 24.9m
Market cap Cdn$2.4m
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