Featured Image: Havieron project. (Image: Greatland Gold.)
Back in July 2019, a small exploration company drilled their first hole on a moderate, deep magnetic anomaly, with historic drilling by Newcrest indicating mineralisation down at ~1000m.
17m @ 21 g/t Au and 0.39% Cu from 1153m
The target is located 45km east of Telfer, Newcrest’s aging Cu-Au operation. The Telfer dome was discovered back in 1972, moving into production 1977. In 1991, the Telfer mine was expanded and a in 1995, the mine reserves were estimated at 3.8oz with annual production of 370,000 to 380,000oz annually. In 2002, Newcrest Mining started a redevelopment project worth $1 billion, with the discovery of new mineral areas and a reserve base of ~19 million oz of gold and 1.4 billion pounds of copper. However, in recent years, lowering head grade and an depleting reserve has lead Newcrest to realise that the Telfer mine was coming to the end of its life.
With the reason proximal to the Telfer mine being covered by thick, post mineralising sediments, exploration was limited due to the associated costs of testing targets at +1000m. Historic drilling at the Havieron target showed that the overlain sediment was more than 400m of post mineralised cover, however the cores alteration textures and geochemical signatures showed a tantalising glimpse at what could be a major mineralising system, blind at surface.
Greatland Gold picked up the licence knowing that any discovery in the local area to the Telfer mine would spike interest from Newcrest and in March, 2019 a earn-in agreement was signed and once drilling started, it hasn’t stopped with two rigs, building up to 9 rigs and growing the exploration footprint exponentially. The main ‘crest’ feature of the ore body shows a steeply dipping, plunging fold structure, with step out drilling expanding the high-grade zone into a dome structure. A lower grade halo looks to continue to expand around the main resource, with recent drilling showing the orebody to still be open to the north, north-west, west and at depth.
This week, Havieron stepped out of the pure exploration category and into development with the announcement of a maiden resource, focused on the initial SE zone. The focused drill spacing required to produce a resource of 3.4Moz of gold and 160Kt of copper focused on two domains: Crescent Zone containing 18Mt @ 3.8g/t Au and 0.61% Cu for 2.2Moz Au and 110Kt Cu and the Breccia Zone containing 34Mt @ 1.1g/t Au and 0.15% Cu for 1.2Moz Au and 50Kt Cu. Step out drilling continues to show the resource will grow, however this initial modelled zone will allow the deposit to move into production.
With Greatland already drilling new targets, in the region, namely the 100% owned Scallywag projects, the company still has substantial exploration upside. Whereas Newcrest have already stated their interest in GGP’s two northern licences, Black Hills and Paterson Range East, with earn-in agreements and planed drilling campaigns for the new year.
I continue to believe the Greatland Gold team and the Havieron project is not just a fantastic discovery, but a fundamental game changer for the region, moving from traditional outcrop sampling, to juniors taking on challenges to discover the resources of the future by technically de-risking projects and letting the geology to determine the strategy. Hopefully we will see more juniors explorers will take follow their lead, using investors cash to truly de-risked projects and stepping out into the unknown.