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Aurumin locks in new ground to grow Sandstone footprint

Aurumin diamond core showing free gold. Credit: File

Following several recent divestments, Aurumin has made good its promise to home in on its 946,000-ounce Sandstone gold project in Western Australia’s Mid West region after revealing it had secured three new exploration licences.

The granting of the licence applications more than doubles the company’s presence in the central project area as it moves closer to eradicating an overhanging $6.4 million debt relating to its Sandstone acquisition last year.

The key tenure in the company’s Sandstone gold project holds 881,000 ounces of gold and comprises three contiguous, granted mining licences in the arch of the Sandstone greenstone fold belt, about 5km south of the local township. It includes its mine and plant-site.

Importantly, the Paynes Find-Sandstone Road passes within about 1km to 2km of each of the three new licences.

We are pleased to be solidifying our footprint in the Sandstone region with these tenement grants. These are good, prospective additions to our exploration ground, directly adjacent to Aurumin’s existing mining tenements. The company is narrowing its focus to the Sandstone region, following the divestment of Karramindie and with two divestments in progress at Mt Dimer. We remain committed to generating critical mass for future production at Sandstone. Aurumin managing director Brad Valiukas

The biggest exploration licence in the recently-granted new ground is contiguous with the project centre and straddles the mafic-ultramafic suite to the north-east. Significantly, it contains the potentially prospective Hacks Creek structure, which runs north/north-west diagonally through the long axis of the tenement.

It is also transected by the Menzies Sandstone Road and the ground has seen mostly only first pass regional reconnaissance exploration, including surface sampling and wide-spaced exploratory drilling.

The other two new contiguous licences lie 7km west of the project centre on the mixed mafic-ultramafic limb of the fold. They further consolidate the company’s hold on the greenstone trend that hosts the Bellchambers, Bulchina and Golden Raven mineralisation, with the most northern of the pair containing the historical Muriel Chapman mine that was worked in the early 1900s and had a reported production of 106 tonnes at a grade of 15.1 grams per tonne gold for 51.5 ounces.

Somewhat surprisingly, the site has been explored with mostly only surface sampling work. The southern licence is only known to have been tested with six drillholes, while the northern one had the attention of just 22 reconnaissance rotary air blast (RAB) holes.

In addition to Aurumin’s expanded ground, it also has three other licences strategically disposed like a defensive bulwark around and within 5km to 15km from the core of the project. Importantly, in a clever belt-and-braces move, the company has managed to get its foot onto almost every type of geological environment within the central part of the Sandstone fold belt and all the ground is considered to have good gold potential.

One of the three pre-existing licences is 5km to the north-west of the project centre, straddling the mafic-ultramafic western limb of the belt, and it is transected at its northern end by the Mt Magnet Sandstone Road.

The second one lies 15km north-west of the project centre in the deformed Tuckanara meta-granitoid suite on the eastern side of the important Youanmi shear zone – a major delimiting structure, which bounds the entire greenstone belt. It sandwiches the greenstones against its complementary structure, the Edale shear zone, which encloses the belt to the east.

The final licence is 9km to the south of the project’s central tenements in mixed mafic ultramafic terrain, seemingly blocking any pretenders to the throne from the south.

The Sandstone operation has significant project infrastructure and an expanding tenement footprint where Aurumin is aiming to support a gold mining operation in the future. It also has its Johnson Range project, which has a mineral resource of 64,700 ounces at a grade of 2.51g/t gold, midway between Southern Cross and Sandstone.

The total resource portfolio is further complemented by the Birrigrin project, 70km north of the central Sandstone project area, which was acquired late last year. It has 39 mapped shafts dating back to the early 1900s and features recorded historic production grades of up to 196g/t gold.

Aurumin says it wants to augment the Sandstone resource with the 65,000 ounces of gold from its Johnson Range project to help kickstart its new operation and to advance the Shillington-Two Mile complex at Sandstone and better define its underground potential. The company is currently engaged in ongoing open-pit resource definition, with the Shillington and Two-Mile Hill resource zones recently updated and with nine other smaller resources to be reviewed.

The company is forging what appears to be an octopus-like grip on the Sandstone central area as it develops its new resource development plans. And a useful bonus is that it should have plenty of room to move efficiently between its tenements within a relatively small radius, with strategic access on three major roads and several local routes as it goes about constructing a major gold camp.

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