Red Rock Resources Plc, the natural resource development company with interests in gold, manganese and base metals, announces an update in respect of Red Rock Australasia Pty Ltd (“RRAL”) a joint venture company with gold exploration interests near the historic mining centre of Ballarat in the Gold Fields of Victoria. Red Rock owns 50.1% of RRAL, with 49.9% being owned by Power Metal Resources plc (AIM:POW).
RRAL announced on 2 February 2021 the grant of three of its exploration licence applications in Central Victoria, Australia – EL007271, EL7281 and EL7285.
The granted tenements comprise approximately 215km2 and form a key part of RRAL’s central to south Ballarat project group. These tenements (along with current applications) surround and overlie the existing Ballarat West and Ballarat East mineralized lode systems – a mining camp reported to have produced over 12 million ounces. Modern production continues today at the Ballarat East mine.
RRAL is beginning work immediately on evaluating previously identified areas of interest within all tenements.
Initial Targeted Programme of Exploration
Coincident geochemical and radiometric anomalies from early work along with historical reconnaissance mapping and sampling has (as previously reported) already identified s several prospects to the south of Ballarat. These prospects are considered as possible southern extensions to the main lode systems of Ballarat. Three prospects (O’Laughlin, Scotsburn and Enfield) are a high priority for immediate work.
Fig 1: Map of license area with initial exploration prospects
The O’Laughlin prospect is coincident with a broad potassic anomaly and weakly anomalous geochemical signature. It covers minor hard rock historical workings that remain largely undocumented whilst areas of alluvial workings exist in the valleys on the side of the main ridge confirm the likelihood of gold shedding from within the prospect area. Nearby, Scotsburn displays a similar geochemical and radiometric signature and sits north along strike from O’Laughlin.
The Scotsburn prospect comprises a more consolidated line of workings for over a kilometre to the well-known Locomotive Extended mine and shafts north of Buninyong (southeast of Ballarat).
The Enfield prospect (or Monmouth prospect) covers the historical area of the Monmouth and Happy Thought mines which are also largely undocumented however the prospect area is considered potentially to cover the southern extension of the Ballarat West lode system.
Red Rock has initiated a comprehensive soil sampling program over the areas in conjunction with detailed field mapping. The sampling is using both traditional MMI (mobile metal ion) low level analytical methods as well as evaluating the efficacy of portable XRF as a cost-effective alternative allowing a significantly higher number of samples to be collected with a shorter turnaround for results. In conjunction with the extensive soil sampling, field mapping and discrete sampling of quartz veins both within workings and newly identified at surface will be undertaken. It is anticipated that the outcomes of the first phase of exploration will lead to confirmation that significant mineralization is present and will allow drilling to commence later in the year.
To the north EL007285 is considered to hold the northern extension of the Ballarat West lode system and further work on compiling historical data into a 3D model to facilitate drill planning is under way.
A further exploration tool in use is satellite data from the Aster and Sentinel-2 satellites, where using machine learning, our consultants have trained five statistical classifiers, called Linear Discrimination Functions (LDFs), on the Au occurrences to recognize gold mineralization from 16 spectral abundances unmixed from the Aster mosaic, and have similarly created a classifier from the ten reflective bands (unmixed into 16 spectral abundances) from the Sentinel data. This satellite thermal and high spatial resolution VNIR/SWIR (visible and near-infrared/short-wave infrared) imagery may be used to extrapolate gold occurrence information out to the rest of the project area. Identification of minerals in the scene from spectral unmixing may also inform geological understanding of the area. This extra exploration layer, continuously refined, along with geophysics, geochemistry and geological interpretation may improve drill targeting and the odds of discovery in a brownfields environment such as the Ballarat Gold Fields
The Ballarat Project Area – General
In general terms, the geology of the Ballarat South project comprises a thick sequence of Ordovician turbidite sediments. The sediments have been folded and subsequently faulted under east/west compression. During the compressional phase, some brittle deformation occurred, resulting in the development of several reverse faults. These reserve faults as well as bedding plane slip within shales have acted as conduits for fluid flow from within the metamorphosed sedimentary pile. Gold hosted quartz veins formed as a result, often in complex arrays of orientations within a broadly mineralized envelope.
Overlying the sediments in part is extensive flows of Tertiary age volcanism.
The Ballarat region has seen exploration activity since the initial discovery of gold in the 1850s with mining progressing from surface alluvial mining to deep lead mining to some hard rock mining over a period of 80 years. From the 1980s onwards interest in the area renewed as explorers completed first phase surveys including broad airborne geophysical surveys, soil sampling, and mapping. Their work included minor exploration drilling focused largely upon the Ballarat East and West lodes. Whilst they did identify numerous other targets, limited technology for evaluating mineralisation beneath the cover particularly the lava flows restricted much of the exploration. This coupled with a fluctuating gold price has left much of the region surprisingly underexplored. As a result, RRAL can now capitalize on the positive results reported in the previous literature and continuously learn from the progress of current exploration in the region, and is fast tracking exploration efforts with an initial focus on already identified prospects.
Joint Venture Company – RRAL
RRAL is a joint venture company 50.1% owned by Red Rock and 49.9% owned by Power Metal Resources plc (“POW”). Paul Johnson, CEO of POW and Andrew Bell are directors of RRAL.
RRAL has lodged applications for sixteen new gold exploration license areas covering approximately 2,336 km2 in the Victoria Goldfields of Australia as follows:
* Balmaine Gold Pty Ltd, Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, and Loddon Gold Pty Ltd have put in competing applications the same day as RRAL for the ground covered by EL007540. The application considered to have greatest merit will eventually be given priority.
The technical information relating to planned exploration in this report is compiled by David Holden, BSc, MBA, MEM, who is a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Mr Holden has experience in the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration. Mr Holden is the Exploration Manager of RRAL.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014 as it forms part of UK domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“MAR”), and is disclosed in accordance with the Company’s obligations under Article 17 of MAR.
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