Dolgellau Gold Exploration Project Update
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Alba Mineral Resources plc
("Alba" or the "Company")
Dolgellau Gold Exploration Project, North Wales
Alba Mineral Resources plc (AIM: ALBA) is pleased to report on the latest planned phase of work at the Company's Dolgellau Gold Exploration Project ("DGEP") in north Wales. The DGEP encompasses those parts of the Dolgellau Gold Field that lie outside the footprint of the two mines of the Dolgellau Gold Field, namely the Clogau-St David's Gold Mine and the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine.
Alba has the exclusive exploration rights over the entire length of the Dolgellau Gold Field, including over the Clogau-St David's and Gwynfynydd mines.
- The next phase of work over the Dolgellau Gold Field will involve stream sediment sampling, designed to identify hard-rock gold sources upstream of the sampling locations
- This programme represents the first field work to be carried out over the Company's Gwynfynydd exploration licence area since the Company was awarded the Gwynfynydd licence in November 2020
Alba's Executive Chairman, George Frangeskides, commented:
"As we all emerge from a tough winter, for more reasons this year than usual, our technical team are positively champing at the bit to get out into the Dolgellau Gold Field and continue our work to find new sources of gold that have never been exploited before."
"This regional exploration is a separate exercise to our work to bring the Clogau-St David's and Gwynfynydd gold mines back into commercial production. It requires a different methodology and mindset, and the use, to start with at least, of some quite simple field exploration tools and techniques that are employed in countless mineral exploration projects the world over, such as stream sediment sampling. Nonetheless, this is important and potentially very significant work."
"For the first time, we will be expanding our regional exploration programme to cover our recently granted Gwynfynydd exploration licence. We are very optimistic about the prospects for finding new gold deposits in the Dolgellau Gold Field."
The Company has planned the next phase of its regional exploration of the Dolgellau Gold Field ("DGF"). Initially, this phase of work will be focused on the Company's Gwynfynydd exploration licence.
There have been only a handful of significant regional exploration programmes over the DGF. Most recently, in 2018-19, Alba conducted an extensive soil sampling programme over the Dolgellau Gold Belt. A total of 1,996 samples were taken, and continuous gold mineralisation was confirmed over a 9km stretch of the DGF, with 10 separate gold targets being identified away from historic mine workings (see Figure 1 in the PDF version of this RNS).
Prior to Alba's work over the DGF, one has to go back to the 1960s and 1970s to find significant regional exploration programmes over the gold field. Between 1972 and 1977, the national Mineral Reconnaissance Programme ("MRP") was completed by the British Geological Survey ("BGS") on behalf of the Department of Industry. It presented the results of an airborne geophysical (electromagnetic, magnetic and radiometric) survey of the eastern part of the Harlech Dome. See Figure 2 in the PDF version of this RNS for the location of the Harlech Dome and its proximity to the DGF and Alba's exploration licence areas.
In addition, beginning in the 1960s, the BGS Geochemical Baselines Survey of the Environment ("G-BASE") project was a national strategic geochemical mapping programme for Great Britain, which sought to establish the chemistry of the surface environment by the collection and analysis of stream sediment, stream water and soil samples. The final G-BASE samples were collected in southern England as recently as 2014.
The G-BASE programme included the taking of stream sediment samples from active drainage channels of first- or second-order streams at a density of about one sample in every 1-2 km² in rural areas. The collected material was analysed for a range of elements; however this did not include gold. While the resulting geochemical database does not therefore directly assist Alba in the determination of possible gold targets over the DGF, it may still provide useful in correlating the pathfinder elements found in the G-BASE programme with those found in the forthcoming Alba programme.
Accordingly, in order to extend its knowledge of the DGF and its regional gold target generation the Company intends to undertake its own stream sediment sampling programme over the DGF. The first phase of the programme will be focused on two distinct areas within the Company's Gwynfynydd licence area (see Figure 3 in the PDF version of this RNS). Depending on the success of Phase 1, a Phase 2 stream sediment sampling programme will then be carried out over a wider area.
Details of the sampling programme
It is proposed that a stream sediment sampling campaign be performed over two areas within the Company's Gwynfynydd licence area. This, along with drainage basin identification, will enable the targeting of areas of likely gold mineralisation. The objective of stream sediment sampling is to look for pathfinder minerals which may indicate a hard-rock source of gold mineralisation upstream.
This initial targeting could lead to follow-up soil geochemical sampling, detailed geophysical surveys, trenching, and ultimately diamond drilling.
The study will focus on two drainage or catchment areas within the Gwynfynydd and Craig y Penmaen basins (see Figures 3 and 4 in the PDF version of this RNS).
Six samples (GWSS_0001-0006) are planned in the streams in the proximity of the Gwynfynydd Mine. These are designed to act as a known mineralisation reference point for the study. A further six samples are planned in the Craig y Penmaen basin, which are designed to target a stretch of Clogau Shales that is not currently known to host any mineralised quartz veins. It is expected, therefore, that this second group of samples will represent environments more distant from known mines and mineral occurrences, adding to the understanding of the regional geology and the possible identification of new gold targets.
The samples will be taken from the gravel sediments situated within the main flow of the stream. About 15-25 kg of material is expected to be collected and sieved at each sample location to provide a sufficient sample weight for analysis. The fine fraction will be left to settle and then bagged, air-dried and dispatched for preparation and analysis. A total of around 2 kg by weight will be removed from each sample location and dispatched to an accredited laboratory for analysis. The coarse fraction will be washed, shaken and panned to a heavy mineral concentrate in the field, and examined for minerals of economic interest, including gold. It will then be returned to the stream from where it was collected.
Samples will be collected over a period of about one week by the Company's geological team. In an ongoing collaboration with Camborne School of Mines, the Company will be taking on a Masters student, currently studying for an MSc in Mining Geology at Camborne, to work exclusively on the stream sediment sampling programme.
Stream sediment sampling is a proven effective regional exploration methodology to identify mineralisation at low cost but with good accuracy. By focusing on gold content in streams, it enables large areas to be covered in short time spans.
Part of the sampling will take place within the Gwynfynydd SSSI. The SSSI has been designated as such due to its biological features, including woodland, grassland and lichens. While this does not directly include rivers or streams, the Company will consult with Natural Resources Wales ("NRW") before taking samples within the SSSI.
Subject to regulatory approvals, to the extent required, this first phase of the sampling programme is expected to commence in March 2021.
All activities and timelines in this announcement are subject to the timely receipt of regulatory and other third-party consents and to the timely availability of contractors, plant and equipment.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
Black pyritous and carbonaceous mudstones and silty mudstones with rare silt laminae and sparse fine-grained sandstone beds. The gold deposits of the Dolgellau Gold Belt have been shown to be related to the presence of the Clogau Formation, interactions with igneous sills, and/or reef splitting to form discrete ore shoots.
A drainage basin, also called a catchment area, is an area from which all precipitation flows to a single stream or set of streams.
The Harlech Dome is a geological dome in southern Snowdonia in north Wales, extending approximately from Blaenau Ffestiniog in the north to Tywyn in the south, and includes Harlech, The Rhinogydd, Barmouth and Cadair Idris.
In geochemical exploration, a relatively mobile element or gas that occurs in close association with an element or commodity being sought, in this case gold, but can be more easily found because it forms a broader halo or can be detected more readily by analytical methods.
A distinct sheet-like body dominantly composed of quartz hosted within a rock formation.
Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Stream sediment sampling
A common gold exploration method which involves the collection and analysis of the silt or sand in a stream or riverbed. Anomalous assay results may indicate an area of mineralisation upstream of the anomalous samples.
Forward Looking Statements
This announcement contains forward-looking statements relating to expected or anticipated future events and anticipated results that are forward-looking in nature and, as a result, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, such as general economic, market and business conditions, competition for qualified staff, the regulatory process and actions, technical issues, new legislation, uncertainties resulting from potential delays or changes in plans, uncertainties resulting from working in a new political jurisdiction, uncertainties regarding the results of exploration, uncertainties regarding the timing and granting of prospecting rights, uncertainties regarding the timing and granting of regulatory and other third party consents and approvals, uncertainties regarding the Company's or any third party's ability to execute and implement future plans, and the occurrence of unexpected events.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, uncertainties also exist in connection with the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which may result in further lockdown measures and restrictions being imposed by Governments and other competent regulatory bodies and agencies from time to time in response to the pandemic, which measures and restrictions may prevent or inhibit the Company from executing its work activities according to the timelines set out in this announcement or indeed from executing its work activities at all. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may also affect the Company's ability to execute its work activities due to personnel and contractors testing positive for COVID-19 or otherwise being required to self-isolate from time to time.
Actual results achieved may vary from the information provided herein as a result of numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors.
Competent Person Declaration
The technical information in this release has been reviewed by Mr Mark Austin. Mr Austin is a member of SACNASP (Reg. No. 400235/06), Fellow of The Geological Society and Fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa. He has a B.Sc. Honours in Geology with 38 years' experience.
Mark Austin has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration targets, Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves', also known as the JORC Code. The JORC code is a national reporting organisation that is aligned with CRIRSCO. Mr Austin consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which they appear.
For further information, please contact:
Alba Mineral Resources plc
George Frangeskides, Executive Chairman +44 20 3950 0725
Cairn Financial Advisers LLP (Nomad)
James Caithie / Liam Murray +44 20 7213 0880
ETX Capital (Broker)
Thomas Smith +44 20 7392 1494
Alba's Project and Investment Portfolio
Dolgellau Gold Exploration (gold)
Inglefield (copper, cobalt, gold)
Melville Bay (iron ore)
Oil & Gas Investments
Horse Hill (oil)