Further data interpretation is underway on the gold permits held by New Age Exploration Ltd (ASX: NAE), near Lawrence and Roxburgh in Otago.
At the New Zealand branch of the Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy annual conference yesterday, Dr Doug MacKenzie of the University of Otago updated some of the 220 delegates on his work to date.
The possibility that a gold bearing schist belt, running about 60 kilometres from OceanaGold's Macraes mine in East Otago to near Roxburgh has been of long standing interest for Dr MacKenzie.
In July New Age relinquished 75% of its permit areas, citing at the time the low impact exploration had been “largely inclusive,” from the $150,000 worth of exploration.
The Mahinerangi permit, north-east of Lawrence and adjacent to the Gabriels Gully 1861 gold field of more than 500,000 ounces, was reduced to 154 square kilometres.
The Teviot permit, east of Roxburgh, was reduced to 66 sq km, with Dr MacKenzie expecting to undertake further work in the coming summer, despite the findings to date.
In a self-professed highly technical presentation, Dr MacKenzie outlined lineation and resistivity data findings around the shear zone, looking for regional trends where there might be a deviation which could be prospective for gold; in his pursuit of “hard rock gold” locked in quartz.
The ancient metals were channelled into the schist belt; part of which is the Macraes mine, but Dr MacKenzie said the outcrops were “hard to find and easily missed” and, to complicate matters, were also covered in another layer of rock at surface.
Dr MacKenzie believes there remains a symmetry in the overall schist belt at either end.
OceanaGold has to date recovered more than 4 million oz of gold from Macraes, and has a mine life out to about 2020 at present, but is exploring further northward with promising recent results.
During Dr MacKenzie's first phase of low impact exploration, he took 877 soil samples, 246 rock chips and drilled 21 holes to a depth of 6 metres.
*Simon Hartley is senior business reporter and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.