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Dart Mining kicks off drill campaign in Victorian gold chase

Updated: Mar 21


ASX-listed Dart Mining has kicked-off a new drilling program to test parts of the historic and highly-prospective Rushworth goldfield in Victoria, about 160km north of Melbourne and 65km east of the city of Bendigo, with modern exploration methods for the first time.


The company today confirmed that the phase-one, 1200m diamond drill program is now underway at its Growlers Hill and West Growlers prospects.


A Dart Mining drill rig at work.

Dart, which made Victoria’s first-ever lithium pegmatite discovery in 2016, has made a strategic decision to return to its gold roots and will now provide some exploration “love” to its plethora of targets across its many Victorian gold tenements. The company has the entire historic Rushworth goldfield as part of its existing 405-square-kilometre tenement holdings and has applied for a further 458sq km land grab, for which it has priority.


Management says 4600 old reef workings across 72 square kilometres of ground have already been identified at Rushworth and the company has mobilised its own diamond drill rig to test them. The old Rushworth mine alone produced about 100,000 gold ounces during its glory days and in some instances, produced grades flying as high as 100 grams per tonne.

The Growlers Hill area represents the first of many drill targets that the company intends to test across the goldfield over time. Dart Mining chairman James Chirnside

The Rushworth goldfield is focused along a series of regional east-west-orientated folds hosting shallow historic gold workings along a cumulative strike length of some 14km. The company says the area around Growlers boasts two sets of intersecting gold reefs – one group running east-to-west and the other running north-to-south – which is usually a positive development when on the hunt for gold.


Seven drillholes at three drill sites have been designed to test about 120m of strike of the Growlers Hill vein, testing both north and south from the Growlers Hill shaft, including the projected intersection of the West Growlers east-west-striking lode with the Growlers Hill reef. All drillholes are designed to intersect the Growlers Hill reef below the levels of reported historic production.


The company says the old workings have seen only limited modern exploration and are ready for a targeted assault with the drill bit.


We have deployed our own diamond drilling rig, drill crew and field camp to support drill-testing activities. The Growlers Hill area represents the first of many drill targets that the company intends to test across the goldfield over time. Utilising the company’s own equipment and personnel allows us to continue exploration activities efficiently and cheaply in what is a challenging time for junior exploration companies. Dart Mining chairman James Chirnside


The Growlers Hill prospect is a prime target with significant gold production from a northerly-striking quartz vein mined to more than 100m depth, in addition to the adjacent east-west-striking West Growlers reef that is mined to a similar depth.


Growlers Hill is a significant north-south structure dipping steeply west to the east of West Growlers. Back in 1866, The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser newspaper in the Victorian town of Heathcote reported grades from the shafts of up to 8 ounces per tonne – equivalent to about 227g/t gold.


The West Growlers prospect sits to the south of the Rushworth township, with mineralisation reported as occurring within sandstone. It was mined at surface and from the Humbug Shaft before production was impacted by water ingress.


The water-table was an obstacle the old-timers could not overcome back in the day. However, modern-day pumps should enable mining the area to be a viable proposition today.


Management has wisely set about uncovering the mining history of its landholdings and discovered a few gems. Old Victorian Mines Department records show that its staff drilled two holes under old workings at Growlers and reported drill-core glistening with gold.


Geologists at the department believed mineralised areas in rock folds reportedly occur at some of the Rushworth prospects and recommended they be tested as far back as the 1880s and again early in the 19th century. They cited similarities to the 22-million-ounce Bendigo goldfields, but testing appears never to have happened.


Now, Dart has the unbridled opportunity to step up to the plate and be the first to do so.


Another fun fact is that 10 diamond bores were drilled at Rushworth by the Victorian Geological Survey between 1892 and 1895, according to Mines Department records.


Melbourne newspaper The Herald reported in 1893 that: “The drill working on Growlers Hill, Rushworth, cut the gold in the No.2 bore last week at a depth of 116m and went through gold bearing material at a depth of 123m showing 7m of crushing stuff. The core is a mixture of quartz, sandstone and blue slate. Several pieces of the ore have been broken up, turned and then put through sulphuric acid, which would yield over 4oz to the ton (124g/t gold).”


Dart also has multiple additional drill targets to test beyond phase one as the project area includes a large tenement-holding to the west and south-west of the township of Rushworth that includes projected strike extensions of the goldfield, in addition to the adjacent Whroo, Redcastle and Costerfield goldfields that includes the regionally-significant Moormbool Fault.


The company is currently designing its next drilling program, with one target to follow up being the New Holland Mining intersections at the Star of the West mine.


New Holland intersected 3m at 16.2g/t gold from 3m downhole in rotary air-blast (RAB) drilling in 1993 and 2m at 80.7g/t gold within 12m going 13.96g/t from 4m downhole from reverse-circulation (RC) drilling in 1999. The intersections are shallow and have not been subject to further investigation.


With a line-up of targets showing this level of prospectivity, Dart’s drill program seems to have plenty of the shiny yellow metal to aim for.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: office@bullsnbears.com.au

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