Crater Mountain is shaping up as PNG’s next large scale, gold and copper discovery.
The project is located approximately 50 km southwest of Goroka, the regional centre for the Eastern Highlands Province, PNG. It comprises 3 contiguous exploration licences, straddling the border between the Chimbu and Eastern Highland Provinces.
This region is in the centre of the New Guinea Orogen, an extensive geological zone that makes up the mountainous spine of Papua New Guinea. The western portion of this zone encompasses the world class mining operations of Porgera, OK Tedi, Wafi-Golpu and Grasberg.
The Company owns 100% of the Crater Mountain Project.
The Crater Mountain geology is structurally complex with all the hallmarks of a large mineralised system. It is highly prospective for the discovery of a world class multi million ounce gold deposit. Local geology is dominated by the Crater Mountain Volcanic Complex, one of a series of strato-volcanoes situated in the PNG thrust belt along the leading edge of the Australian Continental Plate. The volcanic complex includes two large craters over one kilometre in diameter, and approximately thirty small vents along with hot springs and associated sub-volcanic intrusives spread over more than 200 square kilometres formed after two separate phases of volcanism which are underlain by marine sediments of the Chim Formation. Mineralization and alteration is widespread in the volcanic sequences and the Chim Formation.
Crater Mountain has been actively explored for over 30 years, initially by Kennecott and CRA for copper porphyry mineralisation and in the 1980’s by Esso, City Resources and Highlands Gold for epithermal gold mineralisation. These efforts identified four prospect areas – Nevera, Nimi, Awanita and Masi.
Although anomalous base and precious metals values have been discovered at all of the mentioned Crater Mountain prospects, Nevera is by far the most advanced prospect. In the 1990’s, Macmin Ltd completed a soil sampling program over the Nevera prospect and outlined an area of anomalous gold mineralisation which is up to 1,500m long and 600m wide. Macmin signed a Joint Venture with BHP who drilled 3 holes at Nevera (Nev001 to Nev003) with one hole Nev002 intersecting a 115m at 1.83 g/t Au and leading BHP to declare the prospect as having their highest prospectively rating (Tier 1). For corporate reasons, BHP exited Papua New Guinea in 1997. Macmin drilled an additional 4 holes at Nevera with their best intercept being 24m @ 6.55 g/t Au. Macmin later joint ventured the Project out to Celtic Minerals and later TPJ who drilled an additional 10 holes at Nevera. The 17 holes drilled prior to the Company’s joint venture into the project totalled approximately 5,000 metres.
High Grade Zone
Three other areas of anomalous gold mineralisation have been identified at Crater Mountain, these are the Nimi, Masi Creek and Awaunita prospects, these are summarised in brief below.
The Nimi Prospect
The Nimi prospect is located 12 km SSE of Nevera, it is the highest priority target after Nevera. It has a similar geological setting to Nevera and similar styles of mineralisation have been observed there. The prospect was identified by anomalous gold in stream sediment samples with follow up rock chip sampling returning values to 7.10 g/t Au, 1,060 g/t Ag, 1.35 Cu, 6.4% Pb and 15.65% Zn.
The Masi Creek Propect
The Masi Creek prospect is located 4km east of Nevera, it also has a similar geological setting to Nevera with basement Chim Formation sediments underlying a volcanic pile which have subsequently been intruded by several felsic bodies resulting in alteration and mineralisation.
The prospect is centered on two apparent NW – SE structures which have possible controlled the emplacement of the felsic intrusives. The prospect was first identified by anomalous stream geochemistry with follow up rock chip sampling returning values to 2.81 g/t Au, 3.25% Zn and 11.2 g/T Ag.
The Awaunita prospect is located 8 km due east of the Nevera prospect. The geology of the prospect is defined by an extensively argillised diorite stock consisting of three individual bodies intruding overlying volcanics and sediments. The area was initially defined by three panned concentrate samples from the headwaters of a single drainage which assayed 430 ppm, 255 ppm and 180 ppm respectively. Gold assay results from follow up programs returned low level gold with occasional elevated base metal and pathfinder geochemistry. There has been little exploration in the area and the prospect has never been drilled.
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