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Dart Mining aims for high-grade Victorian gold at Growlers Hill


Dart Mining is prowling for high-grade gold at its Growlers Hill prospect in Victoria.

Dart Mining (ASX: DTM) has launched into its first drill campaign in the company’s search for high-grade gold at its promising Rushworth project, about 160km north of Melbourne and 65km east of the historic gold-mining city of Bendigo.


An initial seven-hole drill program planned for 1200m has kicked off to test targets mined by old-timers back in the day, where gold grades of more than a sparkling 200 grams per tonne were reported. All drillholes will be targeting the Growlers Hill reef below the levels of reported historic production.


Dart has drilled its first four holes at the exciting Rushworth gold project, targeting the interpreted Growlers Hill fault. The first-phase program is aiming to define the structural controls on mineralisation previously mined at the site and it will be the first-time drilling has occurred at Growlers Hill using modern exploration methods.


Management says its interpretation of the faulting and structural setting within the Growlers Hill prospect, in addition to its east-west stratigraphic modelling, has been confirmed by the four holes recently drilled for 392m.


Its first hole was drilled to 77m, hitting a wide zone of stockworked quartz before the drill rods became stuck and the hole was abandoned. The company added a further drillhole to the program to ensure the interpreted structure was properly tested and four more holes remain to be drilled in the program.


The presence of strong alteration, zones of quartz stockwork and significant sized veins is cause for optimism.
Dart Mining chairman James Chirnside

Dart’s fully-owned diamond drill rig hit consistent zones of veining and quartz stockwork in all the holes that have been drilled to date. Operating with its own diamond rig is a huge financial advantage in today’s high-cost environment, coupled with the long waiting times for a suitable machine.


Encouragingly, strong alteration was observed in the drill core at depths surrounding the interpreted Growlers Hill fault, with low-levels of sulphides present. However, the mineralisation style of the Rushworth region has been found to contain structurally-complex deformation zones, with associated free gold found in quartz veins, rather than sulphide levels.


Management says samples from the first two holes have been sent to the lab for assaying, with logging of the third and fourth hole taking place. Interestingly, the fourth hole contained sericite alteration and appeared to have strong levels of chlorite – both of which are commonly associated with gold found in central Victoria.


Confirmation of the geological structural aspects and feedback is reassuring, and the presence of strong alteration, zones of quartz stockwork and significant sized veins is cause for optimism. We are looking forward to releasing more detailed results once assays are received and a considered and contextual interpretation has been made.
Dart Mining chairman James Chirnside

The Rushworth goldfield is focused along a series of regional east-west-orientated folds hosting shallow historic gold workings, with a cumulative strike length of some 14km. Dart 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 it believes may provide the potential deposition of the gold-bearing mineralised fluids.


Growlers Hill is a significant north-to-south structure dipping steeply west and to the east of the West Growlers prospect that sits to the south of the Rushworth township. The company considers the Growlers Hill prospect to be 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.


Back in 1866, The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser newspaper in the Victorian town of Heathcote reported grades from the shafts of up to a stunning 8 ounces per tonne – equivalent to about 227g/t gold.


The company intends to move its diamond-rig to several of its other highly-promising projects soon after it has drilled the Growlers targets. A move to the Star of the West mine is likely to be next, with management saying one target to follow up is the New Holland Mining deposit.


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.


Dart is also planning to drill in the third quarter, with about 800m at the historic Crown Cross mining area and 1500m at the Buckland goldfield project, in addition to 1500m at the Dart Goldfield.


Management says the Crown Cross prospect produced 18,700 ounces of gold at 108g/t from 1881 to 1889. It says several long shoots were mined within a 400m strike length about 3km east of the Growlers prospects. The 800m of drilling will comprise four to six drill holes.


The company believes Buckland has the potential for scale due to a 17.5km strike length identified from 7500 surface samples and multiple parallel structures have been defined.


RAB drilling at the Fairley’s prospect within Buckland succeeded in unveiling solid hits such as 13m at 4.82g/t gold from 12m including 2m going 11.6g/t from 20m, along with 11m at 2.64g/t gold from 28m featuring 3m going 7.49g/t from 29m.


Dart will be looking for success with the drill bit at Growlers to give it the impetus to then power through its exploration programs at its many other promising projects.


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