The prospect of Melbourne-based junior explorer New Age Exploration Ltd (ASX: NAE) retaining its two exploration permits in Otago have been enhanced by an announcement this week.
Following a management change New Age is undertaking a review of its base metals projects in the United Kingdom and the Otago Schists project, which was less advanced.
The company announced on Monday it has encountered gold values of between 0.25 and 0.66 parts per million (ppm) gold along strike of the historic Otago Pioneer Quartz (OPQ) mine on one of the NZ permits.
The company returned a 0.66 ppm gold value at the Otago South Gold prospect along a line about 2.7 kilometres south-east and along strike of the historic mine and soil anomaly defined by Macraes Mining Co (a predecessor of OceanaGold Corporation (TSX & ASX: OGC) in the 1990s.
The value was also about 2 km south-east and along strike of 1.4ppm and 0.6 ppm gold soil results that NAE picked up in February.
Gold values of 0.5 ppm and 0.25 ppm were seen along a line north of Lake Mahinerangi, about 3 km north-west and along strike of the OPQ historic mine and soil anomaly previously defined by Macraes.
“These results potentially extend the strike length of the OPQ gold exploration target significantly,” NAE reported, with new technical director Neil Hutchison saying: “The initial first pass stages of soil sampling to the north and south of the historically mined OPQ Reef line has been successful in defining gold anomalism along a discontinuous strike length of at least 6 km.
“The OPQ reef was mined over 100 years ago averaging 2 metres wide over a strike length of at least 1,200 metres, yielding an average of around 13 grams/tonne gold.
“This recent round of auger soil sampling has extended gold anomalism by about 2,700m to the south-east and 3,000m to the north-west across the lake, with several samples returning more than 0.5 g/t and up to 1.4 g/t gold from soil sampling.
“This suggests structurally controlled gold-bearing veins exist within the schistose host-rocks below the windblown cover, extending along strike in both directions away from the historic OPQ Reef.”
New Age said its next step in Otago will involve exploration with trenching and drilling of parallel structures.
Hutchison noted a parallel zone to the east had also been identified and would be “mapped and soil sampled to test its prospectivity for addition gold-bearing systems.”
The company said its field and drilling activity in Otago is forming part of a review of the company’s portfolio, to help determine the next course of action for the project.
New Age took up the Otago Schist prospects to try and outline a potential clone of the Macraes mining centre further north, operated by OceanaGold which has been the country’s biggest gold producer.