Geologist Puzzled By Finds At Major Gold Mine

Geologist Puzzled By Finds At Major Gold Mine

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I did it.

Made it away on vacation.

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As you read this, I’ll be winding my way by car down the Pacific coast of the United States. Mostly for fun — but also hopefully including some stops of geologic interest, such as the coastal volcanoes of Mount St. Helens and Crater Lake, Oregon.

Landmarks like that are a reminder that geology is everywhere. And it feels like the past several months, I’ve seen a lot of “everywhere” around the planet on my various travels.

I know I’ve discussed several of those projects in these pages. And in the way of follow-up, here are some recent developments on a number of my recent works.

First up, Indonesia — a spot I jumped to back in May, searching for look-alikes to the giant Hishikari mine in Japan. A project that’s now simply come to be called “World’s Greatest Goldmine”.

The assays from my remote island fieldwork in Indonesia are back. And… disappointing.

Sort of.

None of the samples collected returned any anomalous gold values. In fact, none of the samples returned any gold at all.

Much as I’m loathe to say that the presence of nothing is an indicator of something, in my 20 years of geological studies, I have never encountered results like this. Background gold values in the Earth’s crust average about 4 parts per billion — and so almost every sample we take anywhere contains some measurable gold.

And yet, all the samples of chalcedony vein quartz from Indonesia came back from the lab below detection limit for gold (less than 0.5 parts per billion). Which leads me to wonder…

Low-sulfidation systems are essentially silica flows. Where quartz-forming elements move as a solution or a gel, flowing along cracks in the host rock.

If there’s absolutely no gold in the upper levels of the Indonesian vein system we sampled, is it possible it settled out under gravity? Somewhere deeper down?

Taken alone, this would of course be pure speculation. But one other subtle observation here gives me pause.

That’s molybdenum. Which does occur in the samples my team and I took — at very anomalous grades, ranging up to several parts per million.

That’s potentially important. Because at deposits like Hishikari, anomalous molybdenum is sometimes reported above the ore zone.

It’s only a few data points to go on. But as a first pass, these results grab my interest — it just looks extremely unusual, and as I’ve discussed in the past, unusual is a great thing when it comes to the world’s biggest ore deposits.

If anyone’s got any thoughts on their experience with these types of settings, I’d love to hear them.

Another spot I’ve been talking a lot about lately is Myanmar. Particularly the drilling that’s underway at the silver-lead-zinc project my colleagues and I have been pursuing there.

I can’t say too much in the way of an update, as the core is still at the assay lab. And the firm advancing the project — Asia Pacific Mining Limited — has shareholders that need to be updated first and foremost.

I will say however, that the drills have found the same kind of host rock seen at the nearby historic mine. A deposit that’s providing a template for our exploration work — having produced at truly exceptional grades of 50% lead-zinc and 25 ounces per tonne silver.

As I mentioned last week, work is also proceeding on Asia Pacific’s City of Gold project. Which is all the more exciting given this week’s advance in the gold price to near $1,350 per ounce.

Thanks to all of you (and I mean all!) who wrote in to ask about the project after last week’s Prime Meridians write-up. I believe I’ve answered all queries individually — but in the interest of certainty, yes, joint ventures on this project are certainly a possibility. With Asia Pacific Mining having been established to act as a project generator in Myanmar, where an incoming funding partner could join onto prospective projects like this one.

That said, I can’t guarantee anything. Given the apparent scale and grade of City of Gold, the company may also choose to advance it alone for the time being. In short, it depends on the offer — drop me a line at if you’d like to discuss.

As a final note, I’d like to ask for something from you. Advice — on one of the newest ventures I’ve been pursuing over the last few months.

This one is still in the inchoate stages, so I can’t offer too much detail. But the broad brush is, it’s targeting a very niche commodity — one where prices have steadily risen an astounding 1,506% over the last seven years.

No, that’s not a misprint.

Keen-eyed observers may be able to piece it together from what I’m going to say next. Namely, I’m looking for one or a few good people. And they need to have two things: geological expertise and extensive operational experience in the nation of Zambia.

If you fit that bill — or know someone who does — I’d love to hear from you. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you more detail very soon (possibly after a site visit during the coming weeks). In the meantime, you can get me at to discuss.

With that, I’m going to throw on some shorts and go enjoy the sunshine.

Wishing a great long weekend to both my Canadian and American readers. I should have mostly regular updates next week while traveling — there’s still lots to talk about across the resource universe, including ExxonMobil making a massive discovery in an obscure part of South America and Newmont reaching a $2.6 billion deal for its Indonesian mining assets. Talk to you about all that, and more, on the flip side of the weekend.

Updated on

Dave Forest writes Pierce Points Free Daily E-Letter, an advisory on mining and energy read every day by BP, Rio Tinto, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Repsol, GDF Suez, GE, Platts, Warburg Pincus, and the UN. Sign up for free at Mr. Forest has funded and managed over $80 million in global exploration and development in natural resources, and continues to design and develop projects globally. He is a professional geologist.
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