With gold prices approaching $2,000 per oz., gold exploration and mine development remain important drivers for many mining companies. Here are eight global gold explorers to watch.
Vancouver-headquartered Anacortes Mining (TSXV: XYZ; US-OTC: XYZFF) is exploring its 100%-owned Tres Cruces project in the prolific Quiruvilca mining district of northern Peru, about 127 km east of the city of Trujillo on the Pacific coast.
According to Anacortes, Tres Cruces ranks among the highest-grade gold oxide development projects globally, with 9.6 million indicated tonnes grading 1.37 grams gold per tonne for 425,000 contained oz. of gold in oxide material. The project also hosts an additional indicated resource of 31 million tonnes at 1.84 grams gold for 1.8 million oz. of gold in leachable sulphides.
Mineral resources for Tres Cruces currently stand at 46.5 million indicated tonnes grading 1.65 grams gold per tonne for 2.5 million oz. contained gold and 2.6 million inferred tonnes of 1.26 grams gold for 104,000 oz. gold.
In March, the company released an initial preliminary economic assessment for the project.
The early-stage study envisions an open pit heap-leach mining operation producing 68,000 oz. of gold annually over an initial oxide mine life of seven years, with peak production of 81,000 oz. in the second year for a total output of 558,000 oz. of gold over the life of the mine. All-in sustaining costs (AISC) were estimated to be $734 per ounce.
Initial capital costs were pegged at $125.5 million, with $5.2 million budgeted for sustaining capital over the life of the mine. The resulting after-tax net present value is estimated at $165.9 million, using a 5% discount rate and a gold price of $1,700 per oz., and an after-tax internal rate of return 33%. The initial capital outlay would be paid back in just over two years.
Anacortes recently received approval for exploration drilling on Tres Cruces, expected to start in mid-April. The Phase I drilling program is designed to confirm previous drill results, expand oxide resources at the edges of known mineralization, test targets beyond areas of known mineralization, convert indicated oxide resources to the measured category, and obtain “fresh” oxide samples for metallurgical testing.
The company is also seeking further growth opportunities in the Americas with the aim of becoming a mid-tier multi-asset gold producer.
Anacortes Mining has a market capitalization of $49.1 million.
Augusta Gold (TSX: G; US-OTC: AUGG) is advancing its Bullfrog gold project in the southern part of the prolific Walker Lane trend in Nevada, about 193 km northwest of Las Vegas.
The company controls approximately 31.6 sq. km of mineral rights, including the past-producing Bullfrog, Montgomery, and Bonanza deposits and the Paradise Ridge and Gap Target zones. It has also identified additional mineralization around the existing pits and defined several exploration targets that it believes could further enhance the project.
Augusta says Bullfrog benefits from extensive infrastructure that would allow for rapid development of the project, including access roads and paved in-pit haulage ramps, a 25-kilovolt power line and substation on site, and a paved highway that crosses the project.
Mineralization on the property occurs in upper and lower stockwork zones that are subparallel to the high-grade brecciated vein within the main fault structure.
In March, Augusta released an updated resource for Bullfrog.
The project now contains 71 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 0.53 gram gold per tonne and 1.26 grams silver per tonne for 1.2 million oz. contained gold and 2.9 million oz. silver. Inferred resources stand at 16.7 million tonnes of 0.48 gram gold and 0.96 gram silver for 257,900 oz. gold and 515,720 oz. silver.
According to Don Taylor, Augusta’s CEO, the updated resource estimate “confirms our view of the Bullfrog project and its expansion potential adding substantially more ounces at similar grades while reducing the strip ratio of the currently outlined resource.”
He added that the company is now focused on de-risking the project through environmental and engineering studies “that will form the foundation for our permit applications.”
The updated resource was based on 1,331 drill holes totalling 269,864 metres of drilling since the initial resource estimate in June 2021. The estimate included combined oxide and sulphide mineral resources for the Bullfrog, Montgomery-Shoshone, and Bonanza deposits.
All three deposits have historical gold production. Bullfrog and Montgomery-Shoshone produced 2 million and 220,000 gold ounces, respectively, from open-pit and underground mines; and Bonanza produced 72,000 oz. from an open-pit operation.
Augusta Gold has a market capitalization of $71.1 million.
Fosterville South Exploration (TSXV: FSX; US-OTC: FSXLF) is an exploration company looking for gold deposits in Australia.
The Vancouver-headquartered junior has a portfolio of assets in the Fosterville area of the state of Victoria. These include three high-grade past-producing projects — Lauriston, Walhalla, and Golden Mountain, and a large land package with historical production immediately south of and adjoining Agnico Eagle Mines’ (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) Fosterville gold mine, the world’s highest-grade and lowest-cost underground gold mine.
Fosterville South says that drilling during the first quarter will focus on its Lauriston, Providence, Beechworth, and Golden Mountain projects. According to the company, Lauriston offers the best potential to be the southern extension of the Fosterfield Goldfield belt outside of Agnico’s tenements.
The company is planning to carry out an extensive diamond drilling campaign on Lauriston. The drilling will focus on high-priority targets identified during initial reconnaissance drilling and exploration work completed in 2021.
Lauriston has historical production of 233,215 oz. of gold at 20.7 grams gold per tonne.
Drilling has already started on the Comet target on the project, which aims to confirm the structural controls of broad zones of gold mineralization discovered last year, and at the New Trojan target, approximately 3 km north of Comet, which will see its first modern drill program.
In January, Fosterville South released the first drill results from its Beechworth project, about 115 km northeast of Lauriston. Drilling on the Homeward Bound prospect and the Bon Accord prospect, about 180 metres west of Homeward Bound, returned solid gold grades.
Highlights included drillhole HBDH002. Drilled on Homeward Bound, that hole intersected two separate zones of mineralization of 3.2 metres grading 3.38 grams gold per tonne from 295.5 metres and 4.4 metres of 2.51 grams gold from 256.6 metres downhole.
Hole BHVP30, drilled on Bon Accord, returned 1 metre of 20.9 grams gold from 60 metres and 1 metre at 33.4 grams gold from 68 metres.
The company is also conducting an ongoing drilling campaign on the Reedy Creek zone at its Providence project.
Fosterville South Exploration has a market capitalization of $35.2 million.
G2 Goldfields (TSXV: GTWO; US-OTC: GUYGF) is an explorer with assets in Guyana, including the Oko-Aremu and Puruni properties located in the north-central part of the country.
The Canadian-based junior’s focus is the 77.7-sq.-km Oko project covering 17 km of prospective strike length along the Oko-Aremu trend, approximately 120 km west of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.
Several multi-kilometre zones of mineralization have been identified on the property, including the Ghanie, Oko N.W., Oko Main, and Oko East zones in addition to the past-producing Peters, Jubilee, and Aremu mines.
In March, the company reported the highest-grade drill intercepts yet on the property. Drilled on Oko Main, drillhole OKD-106 intersected 15.5 metres grading 8.5 grams gold per tonne from 133.5 metres downhole, and OKD-110 returned 5 metres of 16.4 grams gold from 101 metres, with a higher-grade interval intersecting 6.4 metres of 74.8 grams gold from 193 metres.
To date, G2 has drilled 116 holes in Oko Main over 1 km of strike length.
The company expects to release its first mineral resource estimate for the project in March this year and plans to continue drilling targets at Oko N.W., Jubilee, and Peters, which the company believes hosts significant mineralization.
G2 also holds the Peters Mine concession within Guyana’s Puruni district, about 38 km southwest of Oko. The concession is the site of the past-producing high-grade Peters mine, Guyana’s first producing mine, which produced 41,915 oz. of gold from 1905-1910.
The company plans to conduct a six-hole drill program on the concession down to 500 metres to test southwest-plunging shoots containing high-grade flat lodes, generate further drill targets, and develop a district-scale mineralization model.
G2 can also earn a 100% interest in the Jubilee open-pit mine and plans to conduct an initial six-hole program to target the high-grade vein system, where historical exploration has returned vein material up to 23 grams gold per tonne.
G2 Goldfields has a market capitalization of $74 million.
GoGold Resources (TSX: GGD; US-OTC; GLGDF) is a Canadian gold and silver producer and explorer with assets in Mexico.
The Halifax-based company is focused on its flagship Los Ricos property in Jalisco state, about 100 km northwest of the city of Guadalajara. The more than 220 -sq.-km property comprises two projects; Los Ricos South and Los Ricos North, approximately 25 km apart.
GoGold is conducting a 100,000-metre drilling campaign focused on expanding the initial mineral resource estimate for Los Ricos North, with key targets including El Favor East and Gran Cabrera.
Recent drilling on El Favour East primarily focused on expanding the initial resources with up-dip and down-dip drilling and strike expansion on the zone towards the east.
In March, the company released drill results from five drill holes on the target. Highlights included drillhole LRGF-21-113, which intersected 45.5 metres grading 0.52 gram gold per tonne and 97 grams silver per tonne (135.7 grams silver-equivalent) from 274.2 metres, including a higher-grade core of 0.9 metre of 13.05 grams gold and 716.3 grams silver (1,695 grams silver-equivalent).
A December 2020 resource estimate outlined indicated resources of 22.3 million tonnes grading 122 silver-equivalent grams per tonne for 87.8 million silver-equivalent oz. (186,000 oz. gold and 53.51 million oz. silver).
An induced-polarization survey in September identified several high-chargeability anomalies that GoGold has interpreted as representative of sulphide mineralization along the El Favor-El Favor East zone.
The company completed a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Los Ricos South in January 2021. The study was based on 10 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 199 grams silver-equivalent for 63.7 million silver-equivalent ounces and inferred resources of 3.3 million tonnes grading 190 grams silver-equivalent for 19.9 million ounces. The PEA forecast a net present value at a 5% discount rate of $295 million, and pegged the capex at C$125 million.
There are several historical mines at Los Ricos South, including El Abra, El Troce, San Juan, and Rascadero. GoGold also has several other targets, including Cerro Colorado, Las Lamas, and East Vein.
The company’s other projects include Parral in Chihuahua state and Santa Gertrudis in Sonora state.
GoGold Resources has a market capitalization of $749.4 million.
Toronto-headquartered Moneta Gold (TSX: ME; US-OTC: MEAUF) is developing gold deposits in Ontario’s Timmins camp, one of Canada’s most prolific gold mining camps.
The company says it holds one of the largest land positions in the camp, covering over 263 sq. km, including its 100%-owned Tower Gold and Matheson area properties.
Moneta recently completed a 130-hole (72,500 metres) drill program at Tower Gold. The drilling tested extensions of the current mineral resource area, which contains the combined Golden Highway property and Garrison property covering 17 km of the Destor Porcupine Fault Zone, about 100 km east of Timmins.
The drilling was part of the company’s 2020/21 drill program and extended mineralization by 200 metres to the west and 300 metres to the east of the current resource estimate at the 55 zone – confirming mineralization over an area 800 metres long, 250 metres wide, and down to depths of over 300 metres.
Highlights included drillholes MGH21-200, which intersected 37 metres grading 1.04 grams gold per tonne from 75 metres downhole, including 4 metres of 5.31 grams gold; and MG21-202, which returned 4 metres of 4.87 grams gold from 194 metres, including 2 metres of 9.07 grams gold.
Tower Gold contains open pit resources of 116.7 million indicated tonnes at 0.89 gram gold for 3.3 million contained oz. gold and inferred resources of 79.4 million tonnes of 0.89 gram gold for 2.3 million oz. gold. Underground indicated resources are estimated at 4.9 million tonnes of 4.05 grams gold for 632,000 oz. gold, with inferred resources adding 17.7 million tonnes of 4.21 grams gold for 2.1 million oz. gold.
Recent metallurgical testing of samples from the project averaged recoveries of 95.5%, with 38.8% of the gold reporting to the gravity circuit, the company said.
Moneta plans to release an updated resource estimate for Tower Gold in the first half of 2022, followed by an updated preliminary economic assessment.
Moneta Gold has a market cap of $174.9 million.
Canadian explorer New Found Gold (TSXV: NFG; NYSE: NFGC) holds properties in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario.
The company is focused on advancing its 100%-owned Queensway project in Newfoundland, about 15 km west of Gander.
New Found says it has completed about 37% of a planned 400,000-metre drilling campaign on the 1,510-sq.-km. property, which began in 2020. The campaign is focused on high-grade targets along 7.8 km of the Appleton fault and 12.4 km of the JBP fault zones.
Recent drilling comprised 51 diamond drill holes designed to test targets over a 3.5-km by 1-km area of the JBP fault zone encompassing the 1744 and Pocket Pond target areas.
The drilling intercepted several near-surface high-grade occurrences. Highlights included drillholes NFGC-21-180, which intersected 2.1 metres grading 31.88 grams gold per tonne from 32 metres downhole; and NFGC-21-304, which returned 2.3 metres of 25.4 grams gold from 81.6 metres.
The company said that the ongoing drill program comprises step-out drilling from significant gold mineralization intervals and the testing of high-grade gold targets over the JBP fault zone corridor tracts.
Currently, 11 core rigs are operating on the property, which it plans to increase to 14 rigs by the end of the first quarter.
New Found has about C$116 million in working capital and says it is well-funded to complete its planned exploration program.
Significant investors in the company include Palisades Gold (TSXV: NFG; NYSE: NFGC), which holds a 31% interest; Eric Sprott, the Canadian mining billionaire, who holds 22%; and Novo Resources (TSX: NVO; US-OTC: NSRPF), which holds 9%. Management and insiders hold 3%.
New Found’s other asset is the Lucky Strike project in the Abitibi greenstone belt in Ontario, approximately 20 km northeast of Kirkland Lake. The project contains the past-producing Walsh Mine and two exploration shafts at the Copper King and Norwood Kirkland.
New Found Gold has a market capitalization of $1.04 billion.
O3 Mining (TSXV: OIII; US-OTC: OIIIF) has a portfolio of projects spanning over 1,370 sq. km in Quebec. The Canadian junior is focused on advancing its Marban project, part of the company’s wholly-owned Malartic property located near the town of Val-d’Or.
In March, the company reported a 29% increase in resources for the project from the previous estimate in September 2020. The updated estimate includes drill results from 209 holes (39,207 metres) of infill and expansion drilling.
Marban now contains 67.2 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.07 grams gold per tonne for 2.3 million contained oz. gold and inferred resources of 2.1 million tonnes at 1.2 grams gold for 80,000 oz. gold.
A preliminary economic assessment for the project in October 2020 outlined an 11,000-tonne-per-day open pit operation with a mine life of 15.2 years. The first 12 years will target annual production of more than 130,000 oz. of gold, peaking at 161,000 oz. in year nine, for an average yearly output of 115,000 oz. And total life-of-mine production of 1.8 million ounces.
The study forecast cash costs of $741 per oz. and all-in sustaining costs (AISCs) of $822 per ounce. The initial capex, pegged at C$256 million, would be paid back, after taxes, in four years. The study estimated Marban’s after-tax net present value (NPV) at C$423 million, based on a 5% discount rate and a gold price of $1,450 per oz., and its internal rate of return at 25.2%.
O3 recently consolidated Marban by acquiring Emgold Mining‘s (TSXV: EMR; US-OTC: EGMCF) East-West property, which sits adjacent to Marban. Under the agreement, O3 will acquire a 100% interest in the property for a cash payment of C$750,000, 325,000 common shares in O3, and the grant of 1% net smelter returns (NSR) royalty to Emgold, which O3 has the right to buy back.
O3 is also progressing its Alpha property, 8 km east of Val-d’Or. This year, it plans to complete 33,000 metres of drilling focused on expanding the known deposits at Kappa and Bulldog, following up on Sigma-type veins in the Omega sector, and resource conversion of the Akasaba deposit.
O3 Mining has a market capitalization of $128.7 million.