Ardiden primed to drill test Canadian gold play
ASX-listed, Canadian-focussed gold explorer, Ardiden Limited, has its foot on some very interesting greenstone country in the western Ontario province of Canada, where it recently defined a maiden resource of 110,000 ounces grading a very respectable 4.4g/t gold at its Kasagiminnis deposit.
A glance at the company’s ground holdings for its broader and underexplored Pickle Lake gold project that takes in Kasagiminnis, tends to indicate that this interesting looking project might be harbouring even more gold than the initial resource estimate points to.
The surrounding Pickle Lake gold camp has generated 3 million ounces of gold historically from four significant deposits, including the nearby Pickle Crow underground gold mine that produced 1.44 million ounces grading a whopping 17.8g/t gold down to about 1,200m, in a stunning 31-year period that lasted until 1966.
That deposit still retains a remnant inferred mineral resource of 1.23 million ounces grading 4.1g/t gold.
Within 200km of Ardiden’s project and in the same greenstone rock sequences lies the 27-million ounce Red Lake gold district and the exciting Springpole Lake gold-silver project, that holds 4.9 million gold ounces and is presently one of Canada's largest undeveloped gold projects.
Such heady numbers give some credence to the company’s mantra that Pickle Lake is highly prospective and offers excellent upside potential for gold mineralisation.
Ardiden holds 100% of the project in an area that it describes as an emerging “tier-1” gold jurisdiction.
Newly minted Ardiden CEO and geologist Rob Longley most likely knows a thing or two about tier-1 jurisdictions, having plied his trade in some lucrative, far-flung corners of the globe in the past, including eight years with Sundance Resources tracking down and developing iron ore projects in Africa.
Most recently, Mr Longley was the Managing Director of Helios Gold.
Longley compares the 250km long gold trend between the Pickle Lake and Red Lake gold camps in Canada to Western Australia’s own prolific eastern Goldfields region, indicating the potential he still believes exists in this frosty Canadian region.
Ardiden is now cashed-up and ready to embark upon a new winter drilling program at Kasagiminnis that is expected to kick off in January 2020 for a scheduled three-month campaign.
The aim is to grow the high-grade gold mineral resources quickly at the project.
Outside of the defined resources at Kasagiminnis, Ardiden also holds advanced gold prospects at Dorothy-Dobie, West Pickle and South Limb, with the latter not far from the Donna Lake mine that pumped out 246,500 ounces of gold at 6.6g/t from 1987 to 1993.
The Dorothy-Dobie prospect also looks enticing, with a 12km long shear corridor running right through the tenement, with numerous historical gold targets identified within 10km of Barrick’s Golden Patricia mine on the same shear zone.
Golden Patricia produced 620,000 ounces historically grading an impressive15.2g/t gold in the nine years ending 1997.
Only small-scale gold mining seems to have occurred in the Pickle Lake mining district in the 20 plus years since, which leaves Ardiden well-placed to generate discoveries in the region.
The company has planned several drone surveys and is looking to drill test its South Limb prospect in addition to undertaking an airborne geophysical survey at the West Pickle prospect in the coming period.
Ardiden is also reviewing the historical data and previous resource estimates for the Dorothy-Dobie prospect, along with its planned drilling at Kasagiminnis, which represents only 3% of the entire prospective strike length at Pickle Lake.
The company said it was also conducting site visits and relationship-building sessions with local stakeholders and First Nation groups in the region.
It looks like Ontario is the place to be at the moment too, with the province chiming in with 2.5 million ounces of gold production in 2018, which is approaching half of Canada’s total output for last year.
Ardiden is in good company in Ontario, with other ASX-listed gold producers and developers also making a home in the region, including heavyweights Newcrest and St Barbara.
The company also holds some interesting lithium assets in Ontario where it has already defined 4.83 million tonnes of spodumene-dominated pegmatite resources grading 1.25% lithium oxide at the Seymour Lake project, about 170km southeast of Pickle Lake.
In July, Ardiden took its foot off the gas at Seymour Lake and sought discussions with potential strategic partners on the lithium project.
This all came to fruition last week, with the company signing a non-binding MoU with TSX-listed, Rock Tech Lithium Inc, who control the much larger, but lower-grade Georgia Lake lithium project, about 100km to the south.
Rock Tech has defined measured and indicated resources of 6.58 million tonnes grading 1.01% lithium oxide at Georgia Lake, with an additional 6.72 million tonnes at 1.16% lithium oxide defined as inferred mineral resources.
The companies believe there are operational synergies in potentially developing a combined lithium project incorporating both the Seymour Lake and Georgia Lake deposits that could potentially supply a 6% - 7% lithium oxide spodumene concentrate to the battery chemicals market.
Ardiden management said Seymour Lake is effectively “on ice” at present as it narrows its focus on the Canadian gold assets.
With the recent MoU with Rock Tech, Ardiden has shown that it still considers its lithium assets an important aspect of the company’s resource portfolio, however, that will no doubt benefit from the expected upswing in the lithium market in coming years.
With Seymour Lake currently “parked up” and effectively on-hold, Ardiden can now rachet up exploration and development on its platter of enticing gold projects at Pickle Lake, with the goal of expanding its high-grade resources with some pace.
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