Investment Thesis: Exploration in Virginia
Near-term Catalyst: Buckingham Gold Discovery
**widths indicated are core length
The gold-bearing system at the Buckingham Project is hosted within a package of likely late Precambrian or early Cambrian-age sediments, including greywackes with minor quartz-arenites (phyllite, schist and quartzites), within the Appalachian orogenic belt, hosting past producing mines, current gold mines and advanced gold exploration plays in a belt from Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Nova Scotia and through to Newfoundland. This region is the site of the historically prolific Virginia Gold-Pyrite Belt which hosted a reported 250 gold mines that were in production prior to the California gold rush of 1849 but has seen little recent mineral exploration. Gold production has also occurred to the south in the Carolina Slate Belt, notably at OceanaGold’s Haile Mine located in South Carolina with commercial production commencing in 2017 and slated to produce up to 150,000 ounces of gold per year.
Geological investigations by BHP Minerals (BHP) and joint venture partner, Cominco American Inc (CAI) in 1995 identified a geologic terrane in the Lynchburg area as a prospective belt with largely unrecognized potential for sediment-hosted base metal massive sulfide and/or gold deposits. Regional geological mapping and geochemical sampling confirmed the potential and led to land acquisition, detailed sampling, limited surface diamond drilling and an airborne geophysical survey. Exploration by BHP and CAI ended in 2000 and the total expenditures by BHP and CAI are estimated at US $4.5M.
Don Taylor, through privately-held Jack’s Fork Exploration Inc. (JFE), continued with exploration, constructing a database of the available historic geological, geochemical and geophysical data and conducted significant additional work on the ground. JFE’s total expenditures was approximately US$3M, with work including reconnaissance and project-area geological work including mapping, rock and soil sampling, and ground geophysics since 2008.
Through the purchase of JFE), led by award-wining geologist Don Taylor, Aston Bay owns exclusive rights to an integrated geophysical, geochemical and geological dataset over the Blue Ridge Project area located in central Virginia, USA. The Blue Ridge Project is located within a copper-lead-zinc-gold-silver (Cu-Pb-Zn-Au-Ag) mineralized sedimentary and volcanic belt prospective for sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) or Broken Hill (BHT) type deposits. Correlative rock units in adjacent states of North Carolina and Tennessee host historic mineralized deposits including Ducktown, Ore Knob, Gossan Lead and Haile.
Don Taylor, CEO of JFE, has joined the Aston Bay team in the position of Technical Advisor and will be directing exploration for the Blue Ridge Project. Mr. Taylor was COO of Arizona Mining Inc. and the 2018 Thayer Lindsley Award winner for his discovery of the Taylor Pb-Zn-Ag Deposit in Arizona.
The comprehensive Blue Ridge Project dataset includes:
The Blue Ridge Project has numerous strengths that will be accretive to Aston Bay, including:
Past exploration efforts were focused on the discovery of sedimentary-hosted Cu-Zn-Pb-Ag deposits of the sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) or Broken Hill (BHT) type.
Historic exploration for such deposits has been limited due to rare bedrock exposure (typically ≤1%) and extensive saprolite development. Modern exploration occurred only in the middle to late 1990’s when BHP and later joint venture partner CAI, identified the south-central section of the Blue Ridge terrane as permissive to host significant massive sulfide deposits of these types.
BHP and CAI drilled 11 core holes on area properties; nine of the 11 historic holes intersected notable amounts of disseminated, vein-type, and massive base metal mineralization within marbles and schists over short sections. Significant highlights from that drilling include;
The historic drilling results indicate that the stratigraphy in the project area contains mineralization consistent with the SEDEX/BHT type and the potential to host significant and economic Cu-Zn-Pb-Ag deposits of this type.