The Company’s current focus is in discovering Paleo-placer Witwatersrand style mineralisation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The Pilbara conglomerate-hosted gold projects consist of three exploration licences Bellary E47/3578, Hamersley E47/3827, and Elsie North E45/5020. Following the recent Phase 1 field programme at Bellary where 6 alluvial gold nuggets were found, the field team will be mobilising to Hamersley and Elsie North to undertake the initial mapping, stream sediment, rock chip sampling and metal detecting programs.
The next steps at the Bellary Project will be receiving approvals for the POW lodged with The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and heritage land access approvals of the Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation to begin Phase 2 field program, involving systematically trenching the prospective conglomerate horizon.
The Pilbara region has long been known to have similarities to the world renowned Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa, with age dating of fossils helping to prove the tectonic theory postulated by J. Tuzo Wilson, known as the Wilson cycle. The Kaapvaal Craton (Southern Africa), Dharwar, Singhbhum and Baster (Indian subcontinent), and the Pilbara (Australia) is thought to have existed as one single continent, referred to as Ur, prior to rifting and forming inland marine basins, leading ultimately to the supercontinent cycle of continental break-up and assimilation. The remnants of the Ur continent have contributed approximately 1.85, 0.35 and 0.1 billion ounces of gold production, respectively, or about 39% of historic global gold production, estimated to be about 5.9 billion ounces¹. The Witwatersrand Basin formed over a period of 360Ma between 3074 and 2714Ma. Pulses of sedimentation within the sequence and its precursors were episodic, occurring between 3086 – 3074Ma (Dominion Group), 2970 – 2914Ma (West Rand Group) and 2894 – 2714Ma (Central Rand Group) ². The Hardey Formation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, host to Novo Resources Beaton Creek conglomerate gold resource, was deposited 2766 – 2749Ma.
This time period has demonstrated a great gold endowment in Southern Africa, although the deposition of gold is argued, the key fundamentals is to investigate whether other remnant Ur continents were also exposed to this large gold event and whether the age-equivalent stratigraphy in the Pilbara hosts significant quantities of gold resources, comparative to the Witwatersrand Basin. The recent success of Novo Resources and Artemis resources, along with a host of many junior explorers has renewed interest in the concept that the Pilbara too could host significant quantities of gold resources not yet discovered. Hardey are focussing on prospective conglomerate horizons of the Hardey Fomation that are the age-equivalent to the Central Rand Group in the Witwatersrand, host to 95% of the gold resources mined to date.
¹ World Gold Council (2014) www.gold.org/supply-and-demand/supply
² Meyer M and Robb L.J, 1995, The Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa: Geological framework and mineralisation processes.
Figure 1. The Bellary Project 25km north-west of Paraburdoo in the Pilbara Region, Western Australia.
Figure 2. Location of Bellary, Hamersley (conglomerate Au) and Cheela (polymetallic Zn, Pb, Ag, Au) projects, in the southern Pilbara, Western Australia. Note Elsie North project located off the map near Nullagine.
The 2018 exploration program has been developed to test the prospectivity of the conglomerates. The main parts of the program are as follows:
Geological Mapping & Field Investigation
Geological mapping has been completed historically across the majority of the project however, this work did not specifically realise the significance of the conglomeratic units. Additional mapping is required to revisit areas where conglomerate was noted and collect more detailed information. Furthermore the whole of the tenement will need to be reassessed to identify all occurrences of conglomeratic material and map them in detail.
Rockchip & Stream Sampling
A large program of rock chip and stream sampling in support of the geological mapping will also be carried out. This work will allow categorisation of the different conglomeratic units as well as direct detection of gold mineralisation.
Infill Stream Sampling & Soil Grids
Further surface geochemical work will be undertaken to identify areas of mineralisation, these programs will work off historical sampling and the geological mapping.
Trenching & Bulk Sampling
Novo Resources has demonstrated the importance of bulk sampling as the most suitable technique to accurately reflect in-situ gold mineralisation. Trenching will be undertaken at high priority areas in preparation for drilling.
Drill testing of the conglomerates is needed to better understand the extent of prospective stratigraphic horizons at depth. Drill sites will be generated from combining the mapping, rock chips, streams, soils and bulk sampling data.