Aurum's Global Experience
“Aurum Manages Geological Model Development At Curraghinalt To Increase Resource Ten-Fold”
Canadian-based exploration company Tournigan Gold Corporation enlisted Aurum in 2003 to manage their flagship Curraghinalt Gold Project, an advanced gold exploration project in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
The deposit, a quartz vein-hosted mesothermal lode-gold system with a previously defined historical resource of 260,000 ounces of gold, was still open both down dip and along strike when Tournigan acquired it.
The exploration acreage surrounding the project extended to 844 km² and was itself host to numerous other gold and VMS prospects and targets. The technical team of geologists and resource modelling experts was led by Aurum Founding Director Vaughan Williams, one of the company’s Principal Geologists.
Aurum was tasked with increasing the resource by exploring the mineral potential beyond the area of the known deposit. The Curraghinalt Gold project was sold to Dalradian Resources in 2008 and Aurum’s work continued with the new owners up to late 2011.
Eight years of work programmes planned, executed and overseen by Aurum were fundamental in achieving a ten-fold increase of the gold resource, from 260,000 to 2.69 million ounces (measured, Indicated and Inferred categories).
The Curraghinalt Gold project posed a number of challenges for the Aurum team. The technical aspects included understanding and interpretation of the complex geology and mineralizing system, and designing a multimillion dollar exploration programme that would significantly enhance the gold resource and the overall value of the client’s property.
The logistical aspects covered planning and implementation of the diamond drilling programme, which amounted to 30,000 metres of drilling. Aurum dealt with up to five drill rigs over the eight-year period, managing the field teams and drilling contractors on site and maintaining strict environmental standards and controls on exploration activities.
The project manager also had to ensure that the geological samples collected and sent for assay met the stringent quality assurance and quality control standards required for developing an NI 43-101 quoted gold resource.
Aurum operated an eight-person geological team to execute the project exploration and development between 2003 and 2011. This work had two distinct areas of operation: developing the resource at Curraghinalt; and carrying out regional exploration across the wider licence block, focussing both on developing prospects with known mineralization and on regional grass roots exploration.
The work also involved the oversight of two drilling contractors, operating five drill rigs and comprising up to twenty staff. Just as important was building and maintaining good working relationships with both the local residents and the wider community in the project area, over the eight years of Aurum’s involvement with the project.
- Aurum’s geological team began by capturing and evaluating all of the historical data and bringing the data into a fully validated GIS database.
- Using state of the art software packages, including Datamine and MapInfo, the historical drilling data was recreated in section and plan. This then enabled the team to build a new 3D geological model. Once developed, this more advanced geological interpretation formed the basis upon which the 30,000 m diamond drilling programme was planned and carried out between 2003 and 2011.
- Using state of the art software packages including Datamine and MapInfo the historical drilling data was recreated in section and plan, which then enabled the team to build a new 3D geological model. This more advanced geological interpretation once developed formed the basis upon which the 30,000 m drilling programme was planned and carried out between 2003 and 2011.
- As the new data came in from the drill rigs the geological model was expanded and improved, while the exploration model, developed ahead of the advancing drill rigs, successfully predicted new veins and zones of mineralization. These added new resource ounces to the overall model and a significant increase in project value to the client.
- The final phase of resource model development was carried out in association with Micon International Limited, where the 3D geological model developed by Aurum was modelled into a 2.69 million ounce resource in the Measured, Indicated and Inferred categories by Micon (released in January 2012).
- The second part to Aurum’s remit was to carry out exploration on the wider “regional” package of ground
- Key to this work was the capture of all the previous operator data and the development of a validated exploration database, which included geological, geochemical, geophysical and drilling data. A target generation exercise identified and prioritised both known mineralization and conceptual targets. Some of the best areas were then targeted for detailed mapping, geochemistry, geophysics and drilling, while some of the unexplored areas on the rest of the licenced area were successfully targeted with prospecting and sampling.
With an experienced project manager, dedicated technically skilled geologists and field exploration teams, Aurum advanced the Curraghinalt Project from a 260,000 ounce to a 2.69 million ounce resource (measured, Indicated and Inferred categories): a ten-fold increase.
The exploration aspect yielded numerous gold and base metal targets for development across the licenced area. Entirely new prospects were also identified. These added an increased value to the project, from both resource and advanced exploration perspectives.
“KAMBAL International – Block78 (Au-VMS)”
Aurum spent 2015 working on an exploration strategy covering 2500 sq. km on Block 78 for Kambal International. The Kambal licence is in Eastern Sudan adjacent to the Eritrean Border 120km north of the city of Kassala. The area has huge potential for gold and is heavily worked by local artisanal miners in many locations.
During 2015 Aurum planned and supervised a series of exploration programmes developing targets across the block this included mapping, prospecting and trenching at six of the best localities prior to planning and executing a 3,700m drilling programme characterising the styles of mineralization seen at each of the localities. Whilst most of the mineralization relates to orogenic lode gold systems we are also on the lookout for VMS zones with surficial gold rich gossans.
The work has continued into 2016 where Vaughan Williams spent most of February initially out at camp working with the local technical team and then in Khartoum where he attended the Sudan International Mining Business Forum & Exhibition flying the flag for Aurum over three days at both the conference as a speaker and also the exhibitors’ hall. He was also chosen as one of five delegates to be taken to the Sudan Parliament building to form part of a delegation to make representations to the Parliamentary Sub-committee for Mining.
JV Agreement with First Quantum Minerals and Adventus Exploration Limited (AEL) in West Cork to conduct staged regional targeting via geochemical sampling, mapping and geophysical surveys.
Adventus Exploration Limited (AEL) holds 100% of the 114,000 hectares West Cork licence block in SW County Cork, Ireland. First Quantum Minerals under an Earn-in & JV Agreement have been conducting staged regional targeting via geochemical sampling, mapping and geophysical surveys on behalf of AEL. The work completed to date has been highly encouraging identifying areas for secondary follow up prior to potential drill testing of targets.
The block lies within the South Munster Basin and AEL considered the area to possess the criteria required to form a sediment-hosted, stratiform copper deposit based on studies of geology, mineralization, stratigraphy, and structure. Particularly prospective areas were considered to occur along an inferred fluid pathway situated along, and up-plunge, into folds through and from a NW-SE transverse structure between the Sheeps Head and Glandore basinal highs. The principal target is for sediment-hosted Cu-Ag deposits comprising interbedded mineralized sandstones, and possibly high-grade quartz veins with Cu-Ag(-Au-Se), which is comparable to several other world-class SSC deposits (e.g. Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan, or Udokan in Russia).
Aurum Geologists Identify New Uranium Play In Mauritania
A group of private of investors, familiar with the petroleum industry in Mauritania, were seeking to expand their business on-shore. Recent favourable changes in the country’s Mining Law led the company to enlist Aurum Exploration Services to review the mineral potential of Mauritania and to identify any key commodities for future mining.
Mauritania is an arid, West African country. The range of challenges included its geological and topographic features; logistics; and a newly-introduced, sixteen-point mineral exploration permitting process. Aurum Exploration Services put together a three-person geological team, led by Dr Sandy Archibald, which travelled to Mauritania to oversee the project.
- The team visited the Mauritanian Geological Survey to gain as much background information on the geology of the country as possible.
- It made contact with the Mining Department in order to fully understand the processes required to acquire mineral exploration and mining permits, and to review the mining law to determine how favourable the country is for foreign companies.
- Team members also consulted with the Cadastral department (the mineral licensing board) in order to identify areas of the country that were currently under licence by other mining companies, and for which specific commodities.
After collating the preliminary information, the team began processing the data using GIS software. This enables Aurum to assess the facts across layers such as topography, geology, mineral occurrences, geophysics, radiometrics and satellite imagery. The team was able to identify the specific areas of the crust that were more favourable for various commodities.
The team determined there was good potential for gold, copper and uranium in several areas. The best potential for uranium was determined to be in the north of the country and, based on this information, the team made eight licence applications on behalf of Mauritania Ventures Limited (MVL; at this point a 50:50 joint venture between the private investors and AIM-listed exploration company)
- Using the data collected during the preliminary targeting stages, the field team ventured into the Sahara Desert to follow up on the best targets.
- In an eight week period Aurum’s geologists used a combination of airborne radiometric spectrometry data, sampling and mapping to verify their initial findings
- By targeting airborne gamma ray anomalies of only nine counts per second (CPS), further excavation of pits and trenches produced results up to 22,000 CPS and the the visible presence of uranium mineralization. Subsequent geochemical analysis showed that the mineralization contained up to 0.29% U3O8
- Aurum presented this result to the client, who subsequently asked the team to undertake further exploration in additional areas. The company’s geologists returned to the field and defined more uranium mineralized zones
Using carefully gathered data, innovative thinking and expert field exploration, Aurum Exploration Services was able to discover uranium mineralization in an area of Mauritania that had not previously been investigated – and to do so quickly, accurately and effectively.
Copper, Lead, Zinc
Canadian-Irish Funded Adventus Enlists Aurum For Regional Target Generation Studies
Adventus Exploration enlisted Aurum to conduct regional target generation for base-metals in specific European jurisdictions.
Historical databases were compiled allowing a study of the results of historical exploration within the geological context of the areas.
A series of exploration projects targeting specified mineralization were identified and the client continues work with further assessments, licence acquisition and active exploration programmes.
For these desktop studies, data collection is always a challenge, as acquisition of required information can be extremely time-consuming. A particular consideration when undertaking data review and target generation in non-English speaking countries is the language barrier.
Once the team was briefed by the client, the members began assessing the data available to them on their internal system, before moving onto external resources.
Historical data was compiled into a digital database and areas assessed based on the results of historical exploration, as well as the geological environment.
The results of initial research identified the areas with the greatest potential to host specified type of targeted mineralization. Desktop studies like these often evolve into a field study and this was the case with the Irish copper project. After considering the recommendations of the initial review, Adventus enlisted Aurum to carry out verification mapping and sampling. This was followed-up with a field visit by a team of Aurum geologists and a leading expert in the field of sediment-hosted copper mineralization.
This project involved senior geologists, junior geologists and the Aurum IT department. Senior geologists assisted with data acquisition, assessment and interpretation; junior geologists and the IT department assisted with data acquisition, assessment, initial field sampling and generation of field maps.
The client is continuing with further assessments, licence acquisition and exploration programmes for all areas.
Copper, Lead, Zinc
Arctic Resources – Maarmorilik (Maarmorilik Zn-Pb)
Aurum provided exploration management services to Arctic Resources (ARC), an Icelandic mining company focused on exploitation of high grade resources in Greenland. ARC are currently operators of the Maarmorilik Zn-Pb and Nalunaq Au projects in Greenland. Aurum have been involved with the historical Black Angel mine at Maarmorilik since 2007 completing drilling management, core logging, ground geophysics and geological mapping.
Work focused on developing new exploration targets in the vicinity of the old mine using a combination of airborne and ground geophysical surveys to help target exploration drilling. Geological modelling and the re-examination of the historical underground records helped identify areas which may host extensions to the known zones of mineralisation or identify new, as yet untested, targets.
Copper, Lead, Zinc
Adventus – Target Generation In Ireland (Ireland Zn-Pb and Cu-Ag)
Aurum is currently carrying out a programme of reviews for base-metal prospectivity over selected areas of Ireland for Adventus Exploration Limited, a strategic partner company of Altius Minerals Corporation.
Adventus engage in focussed programmes of target generation for Cu-Ag and Zn-Pb, appraising and developing new projects and advancing their existing ground holdings. All its exploration projects are selected using appropriate exploration model knowledge in tandem with local expertise, such as that available through Aurum, to produce prospective targets ready for on the-ground-exploration and drill testing.
The NW Leinster Massif pegmatite-hosted lithium project is located in the north of the Leinster Massif (SE Ireland). The area is situated on and to the north, north-west and north-east of the East Carlow Deformation Zone. This regional shear zone is located on the eastern side of the Leinster granite massif, close to the contact between granite and meta-sediments. A 35km long zone of lithium- bearing pegmatites & aplites centred on the Aclare deposit was discovered during 1960s and 1970s near the Blackstair granite pluton contact with the Lower Palaeozoic’s and are considered genetically as well as spatially related to the East Carlow Deformation Zone. Recent discoveries by LRHR-Redzone at Aghavannagh and Tonygarrow may have extended this known zone by a further 25km and 40km respectively to the NE (total 75km). Literature research has noted historically recorded pegmatite veins with crystals of Killinite (a variety of spodumene (LiAlSi2O6) discovered at Killiney Hill (type locality) within the Dublin urban conurbation. Thus the presence of regular, discrete lithium bearing mineral occurrences extends along the entire strike length of the granite / meta-sediment contact – a distance of approximately 95km.
Two periods of reconnaissance prospecting have been completed across areas of six principal target areas of anomalous (Li) drainage identified by reviews of historical data – principally using a GSI regional stream sediment survey (1984-1986) – within the fourteen (14) licence block in NE part of the Leinster Massif in during 2018 (June and Oct-Dec). All fieldwork was conducted by Aurum Exploration Services on behalf of LRH Resources and a funding option agreement was signed with Redzone Resources Corp. (TSX.V: REZ) in October 2018. Work to date has highlighted a number of float occurrences of pegmatite-hosted spodumene and/or suspected lepidolitic mica and/or lithium phosphate mineralization together with other [indicator] pegmatites bearing beryl, apatite and orange garnets.
Visible spodumene has been discovered at four target areas Sorrel (June 2018) and in the current phase at Tonygarrow, , Aghavannagh and immediately south of Aghavannagh off-block (application process underway under competition rules). In addition, suspected lepidolitic (pink) micas have been noted at Aghavannagh and Knocknaboley. Taken together with the initial discovery in 2016 of a lithium bearing aplite at Scurlocks (0.3% Li / 0.64% Li2O), the reconnaissance prospecting work has therefore identified lithium mineralization or suspected lithium mineralization at five out of six high priority target areas.
Aurum Exploration Services Work On Their First Gypsum Project In Angola
A consortium of three major companies – two local Angolan partners and a German firm – are investigating the gypsum potential of the country with the aim of identifying a 5 million tonne resource of suitable quality gypsum to supply the nation’s first indigenous plasterboard manufacturing plant.
The group chose Aurum Exploration Services to lead the exploration project as Aurum have been operating in Angola since 2005. The positive reputation acquired during that period resulted in Aurum being recommended to the consortium by Micon International Limited.
Senior geologist Graham Parkin led the Aurum team working in Angola to complete the project.
The project was an exciting new challenge for Aurum as this was the first time the organisation has worked on a major gypsum resource.
The team of Aurum geologists faced several challenges during this project:
- The preferred quality of gypsum for plasterboard is > 85% purity with strict limitations on certain other impurities/undesirables, therefore finding a suitable deposit is challenging in itself
- Understanding the particular parameters of gypsum quality for various end uses and the economics of a gypsum deposit
- Due to concerns over impurities and dimensions of the initial target, a secondary target had to be identified
- Locating a laboratory which could carry out the appropriate analyses at a cost effective rate
- Based on results from limited drilling and geological mapping a drill programme had to be designed and completed to provide adequate data to define an initial resource
The team, made up of three Aurum geologists began the on-site exploration process. They were supported in country by the client and with technical support and guidance by the project manager and technical staff in the Aurum office in Ireland. Outside expertise was sought from recognised gypsum experts where necessary.
- The primary target area was found to be unviable, so the Aurum team identified new targets using our knowledge of the economic geology of Angola and created a grass roots prospecting and mapping plan
- The team identified a target close to an existing area previously mapped by Aurum
- Aurum geologists mapped and prospected the target. Gypsum was identified at surface over a wide area and a test hole was drilled, yielding positive results.
- A further phased drilling programme was designed in order to determine whether the amount of suitable quality gypsum was likely to represent a 5 million tonne resource
- Drill core was sampled according to industry best practice and in a manner designed to minimise costs to the consortium, preserve geological integrity and generate the best possible dataset to interpret
- Based on positive results from the initial programme, a further drilling programme has been completed from which a resource model will be developed in 2013
This project is on-going, pending on results of the drill core analysis from the most recent phase of drilling and a resource estimation will be prepared for the client in Q3 2013.
Industrial Minerals Company – Al Ghazala (Al Ghazala Magnesite (Zarghat)
Aurum was engaged by Industrial Minerals Company (IMC), a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), to complete a revised resource estimation on the Al Ghazala Magnesite deposit at Zarghat.
Aurum had previously been involved in a resource estimation for the project, in association with Golder Associates (Goncalves 2013). The 2013 report was based on a 2011-12 drilling programme carried out by Ma’aden Exploration to provide infill drilling data over all the magnesite bodies at Zarghat to enable the reporting of the Resource and Reserves to JORC standards. Earlier resource and reserve statements prepared for the deposit are not in accordance with current JORC requirements.
Aurum consequently worked with IMC to develop a further drilling programme, completed in 2014-15, aimed to infill the Central Hill and South Lens zones in support of a revised resource estimation to bring the resource from Inferred to Measured status under JORC 2012, as part of IMC’s on-going work to develop a new Reserve Statement in accordance with JORC standards and longer term mining plan for the project.