The Vancouver View: Geologix, Carpathian, Merrex, Aureus, Kirkland Lake, Queenston, Volta, And Mariana

Carpathian's Rovina project

Geologix Explorations has announced the acquisition of an option to earn a 100 per cent interest in the La Carreta gold-copper-silver property in Michoacán State, Mexico.  The 207 hectare La Carreta property is proximal to water as well as power, and is accessible via paved highway and agricultural roads. What’s more, the property is located just 20 kilometres from Geologix’s Tepal project. Preliminary geological evaluation of the property shows that the area is crossed by several structural lineaments, at least one of which hosts precious and base metal mineralization. Though no work has previously been done here, initial grab samples taken by Geologix have returned  results of up to 2.16 grams per tonne gold, 305 grams per tonne silver, and 1.29% copper. Under the terms of the option agreement Geologix has the right to earn a 100 per cent interest in the concession by making staged payments totalling US$375,000 over a period of four years. Even so, Geologix’s share price dipped by seven per cent to C$0.375 on the TSX.

In exploration news, Carpathian Gold announced drilling results from its 2011/2012 diamond drilling program at the Rovina Valley project in west-central Romania. The objective of the drilling program is to delineate further the gold-rich Ciresata porphyry deposit and upgrade the current inferred resource to measured and indicated. Additionally the company has also been in-fill drilling at the Colnic and Rovina porphyry deposits with a view to upgrading the inferred resource there to the measured and indicated categories. The results will now be fed into a prefeasibility study on the project. Highlights of the drilling at the Ciresata deposit include 678 metres at 0.84 grams per tonne gold and 0.17% copper, including 113 metres at 1.61 grams per tonne gold and 0.24% copper. The company has planned additional exploration drilling and will begin an 11,000 metre program in March with a view to testing the deposit at depth and investigating other porphyry targets on the property. Carpathian’s share price was steady at C$0.54 on the TSX.

Elsewhere, Merrex Gold released an update on its ongoing diamond drill program at the Siribaya gold project in West Mali. Assays have been received for a further 14 diamond drill holes at the Merrex-Iamgold joint exploration project and these indicate continuity of mineralization in the eastern substructure over 1.5 kilometres of strike length.  Highlights from the drilling include 15 metres of 0.97 grams per tonne gold in one hole, and 10 metres of 0.79 grams per tonne gold in another. Merrex chief executive Greg Isenor commented: “We are encouraged by the extent of the mineralization, and diamond drilling to increase the resource is continuing.” To that end a 10,000 metre drilling program is currently underway at the property. Midweek, Merrex’s share price had slipped by 3.5 per cent from the opening Monday price, to C$0.265 on the Venture Exchange.

On Monday, Aureus Mining announced encouraging drilling and trenching results from exploration programmes undertaken at the Leopard Rock gold target and on the south eastern extension of the Ndablama prospect in Liberia. Results from the first nine diamond drill holes of a 24 hole programme returned multiple high grade gold intercepts with highlights including 17.6 grams per tonne gold over four metres, and 9.4 grams per tonne gold over six metres. A systematic soil geochemistry, trenching, channel sampling and geological mapping program over the same target area was has also been completed, and this has indicated that the mineralised system extends over at least 1.2 kilometres and is still open in both directions. Highlights of the trenching and channel sampling program included 6.4 grams per tonne gold over 11 metres and 6.9 grams per tonne gold over four metres. David Reading, chief executive of Aureus commented: “The drilling and trenching results from Leopard Rock are very encouraging and demonstrate the highly prospective nature of our licence area in Liberia”. Even so, the share price had slipped by two per cent midweek, to C$1.25 on the TSX.

Meanwhile, Kirkland Lake Gold and Queenston Mining announced assay results from recently completed underground and surface diamond drilling programs on their joint venture properties.  Underground drilling was conducted on the North AK property, on which Kirkland Lake has the right to earn a 50 per cent interest by expending US$400,000 on exploration, and a preliminary surface exploration drilling program was also done on the jointly held South Claims joint venture property which the companies own fifty-fifty. The 11 drill holes completed on the North AK property totalled 12,392 feet of drilling.

Of the 11 holes, six intersected significant mineralization with highlights including 0.47 ounces per ton of gold over a core length of four feet, and 1.87 ounces per tonne over a core length of one foot. On the South Claims property, a five hole preliminary surface exploration programme drilled 3,800 feet. One of the surface drill holes assayed 1.74 ounces of gold per ton uncut over a true width of 4.6 feet. The results on the northern area of the property indicate that mineralization may continue from the known areas in the south. Midweek, Kirkland Lake’s share price was down 4.7 per cent to C$16.62, while Queenson’s share price was slightly weaker at C$4.75. We’ll be hearing in greater detail from Kirkland Lake next week.

Volta Resources also announced positive exploration news this week. Eight additional holes at the Kiaka gold project in Burkina Faso were drilled as part of the ongoing exploration program on the property. The phase 3 drill program comprises approximately 50,000 metres of drilling. The idea is to extend the known mineralization in the Central Area, to follow up on positive results in the South Area, to test ground geophysical targets, and to undertake scout drilling on regional targets. The reported holes, comprising a total of 3644.1 metres, confirmed the continuity of wide mineralization at depth. Highlights from the drilling included 153 metres grading 1.57 grams per tonne gold, including 30 metres at 2.8 grams per tonne gold. Kevin Bullock, Volta’s chief executive stated: “These latest results again represent new milestones for Kiaka. When we first started developing the already significant Kiaka deposit, our goals were to expand the deposit deeper and to better delineate the higher grade zones. We have consistently met these goals and, in fact, have accelerated our rate of achievement”. However, in a down week, Volta’s share price was five per cent weaker on the TSX midweek, at C$1.37.

Also updating on drilling, Mariana Resources announced further assay results from the remaining 18 holes of its 5,200 metre 26-hole drilling campaign at the Sierra Blanca gold-silver project in southern Argentina. Just last week, Mariana was able to purchase the outstanding interest in the project from IAMGOLD to become the 100 per cent owner. Now scout drilling has confirmed broad target areas at Vetarron, Lucila, Trafwe and Achen-Chala along a combined 8.9 kilometre strike. Highlights from Achen-Chala include 1.6 metres grading 0.4 grams per tonne gold and 91 grams per tonne silver. At Vetarron Norte intersections graded up to 3.6 grams per tonne gold and 159 grams per tonne silver over 4.5 metres. Executive chairman John Horsburgh said: “Broad target areas with a combined strike length of 8.9 kilometres have been identified. In particular, Vetarron Norte is shaping up as a priority target area, both in terms of strike length and depth potential”. Mariana’s shares dipped in London, but remained unchanged on the TSX at C$0.16.

The metals market took a big hit after Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, delivered three hours of testimony which indicated that further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve is unlikely. Gold for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, fell US$77.10, or 4.3 per cent, to settle at US$1,711.30 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is the lowest price seen for the most active contract since the 25th of January. Meanwhile, silver prices fell even more dramatically. The May contract dropped 6.9 per cent to US$34.642 an ounce. Copper also reacted negatively to the news, pulling back from a two week high and posting the first loss in four days. In New York, the May contract fell US$4.20 cents to US$3.8795 per pound.