07/10/2021 - 06:24

Barton trials next-gen CSIRO tech at Tarcoola Project

07/10/2021 - 06:24


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Barton Gold is collaborating with the CSIRO to trial innovative ore detection in the field where geochemical sample analysis will be completed within eight hours. The technology, if proved successful will dramatically reduce reliance on turnaround times for laboratory assays results which can take anywhere up to 12 weeks. Barton’s government co-funded radar survey has recently identified a collection of shallow targets at its Tarcoola Gold Project in SA.

Ground penetrating radar interpretation reveals Barton's Tarcoola project shallow gold targets on the Gawler Craton in South Australia. Credit: File

Barton Gold is collaborating with the Federal Government’s chief scientific research body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or "CSIRO" to trial a new innovative ore detection system in the field which, if proved successful, will enable geochemical sample analysis to be completed within eight hours.

According to the company, the Portable PPB detectORE device under development can zero in on drill targets faster and cheaper than conventional laboratory analysis and could revolutionise soil geochemical testing.

Cooperative work between Barton and CSIRO will include advanced machine learning through comparison of laboratory results and in-field results. The initial learning dataset will be based on 500 soil samples. During Phase II of the cooperative development, a further 2,000 soil samples will be analysed using detectORE and CSIRO's machine learning adaptive sampling approach.

Barton is undertaking systematic innovation-driven geophysical and drilling work to unlock the potential of the Tarcoola Gold Project on the Gawler Craton in South Australia. Refined target selection and more precise follow-up drilling is expected to follow on from geochemical analysis, Ground Penetrating Radar, or "GPR" and gravity survey interpretations.

The collaboration comes as Barton is eyeing the possibility of significant new discoveries, having identified a collection of shallow targets with its government co-funded GPR survey at Tarcoola. The work is part of a systematic geophysical and drilling program with more refined target selection and follow-up drilling expected in coming months.

Barton's deep GPR work is the first of its kind conducted in the Tarcoola region with preliminary interpretation of the data identifying multiple new targets only 10-50 metres below the surface. High-resolution ground based gravity surveys were also successfully completed at the Western, Eastern and Ealbara target areas with a total of 3,116 stations over an extensive 80.5 square kilometres.

The company also said the assay results from the previously completed Tarcoola Phase 2 drilling are expected to arrive within weeks.

The program forms part of an exploration program co-funded by the Government of South Australia under the Accelerated Discovery Initiative Grant scheme. Barton received $300,000 in funding from the South Australian Government under the scheme for the application of innovative exploration technologies. The geochemical analysis and new gravity data will be combined with high-resolution magnetic survey data gathered during 2020 and information gleaned from the GPR conducted during July 2021. When combined with legacy data, the latest results will be used to refine the Tarcoola 3D regional structural architecture and stratigraphy, refine target selection and allow more precise follow-up drill in high priority areas.

Barton's tech-driven approach to its exploration at Tarcoola already appears to be bearing fruit. The GPR has identified about two dozen vein-like targets, a stockwork-like intrusive anomaly only 8m below the surface and a dome-like anomaly only 12m under the desert floor. Intriguingly, all of the indicators are located within 1,500m of the historic and productive Perseverance Mine. Anomalies near the northern and southern limits of the survey are in areas with scant legacy drilling.

Importantly, GPR can achieve high-resolution images to a depth of 40-50m and clear imaging up to 70m depth on good ground. Given that the GPR survey has only covered an area of 2.6 square kilometres, the targets produced from these initial results may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Barton Gold Managing Director, Alexander Scanlon said: “We are honoured and excited to be working alongside innovation leaders CSIRO and Portable PPB to validate next generation exploration techniques in areas with geology hidden under cover.

We are very excited to share preliminary results, which highlight multiple exciting new targets near the open pit. This opens up the potential for significant discoveries of new mineralisation via more precise and cost-effective drilling.

We are the first to trial GPR in the Tarcoola region, co-funded by the South Australian Government’s Accelerated Discovery Initiative (ADI). To identify so many previously unrecognised shallow structures and features within this small area highlights the significant untapped potential of the Project.

We look forward to pending assay results from our recent Tarcoola Phase 2 drilling program and will thereafter undertake a detailed integrated analysis to leverage our now considerable data package for large-scale discovery and reanimation of gold production at the Tarcoola Gold Project.”

Provided that the new data validates key regional anomalies identified previously, the company expects to put in place plans for a follow-up program before the end of 2021.

Barton’s inventory already includes the Tarcoola Gold project, an existing brownfield open pit mine within trucking distance of its own 650,000 tonnes per annum processing plant and the Tunkilla gold project where it holds a 956,000-ounce gold resource based on 26.1 million tonnes at 1.15 grams per tonne gold. The Tarcoola mine infrastructure includes lodging for 40 people to support mine operations and the Central Gawler Mill includes a 240-person village, workshop, labs and airstrip.

Barton is already a member of the coveted million-ounce club with  1.1 million ounces of mineral resource based on 28.7 million tonnes mineable ore at 1.2 g/t gold.  It has a pipeline of advanced exploration projects and brownfield mines and also owns the only regional gold mill in the central Gawler Craton.

With a bevy of highly prospective new targets to chase down, assays in the labs and an armoury of high-tech tools at its disposal in one of the most revered hunting grounds in Australia, Barton Gold is certainly one to watch.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au


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