Encouraged by positive results from its exploration program at the Pickle Crow gold project in northern Ontario, Australian junior Auteco Minerals (ASX: AUT) is planning to take a 51% interest in the past-producer, 400 km north of Thunder Bay.
Under a joint-venture deal signed with First Mining Gold (TSX: FF) in January 2020, Auteco has completed enough exploration spending to earn a majority stake in the high-grade project. But to complete the first-stage earn-in, it will need to issue 100 million shares to First Mining, subject to a shareholder vote expected to be held in late May.
The junior released a JORC-compliant resource for the project in September totalling 2.8 million inferred tonnes grading 11.3 g/t gold for 1 million oz. at a cutoff grade of 3.5 g/t gold. A resource update incorporating results of the current drill program is due out in the second quarter.
“The 1 million oz. inferred resource we have established, and its Tier 1 location demonstrate that the Pickle Crow gold project is a superb gold asset with immense growth potential,” said Auteco executive chairman, Ray Shorrocks, in a release. “We are delighted to have completed the Stage 1 expenditure requirements, as it marks a significant milestone in the development of this exciting project, and we look forward to unlocking further value.”
Auteco is in the midst of a 45,000-metre drill program targeting near-mine extensions and new mineralization at Pickle Crow, as well as infill drilling.
The ongoing drill program has returned high-grade gold outside of the inferred resource area, with Auteco reporting both extensions of known mineralized structures and new structures.
In January, the company released full or partial results from 25 of 84 holes (19,400 metres in total) completed. Highlights included 5.6 metres of 33.4 g/t gold from 20.3 metres (hole 078) and 1.6 metres of 16.7 g/t gold from 12.7 metres (hole 077) in a new structure in the Shaft 3 area; and 2 metres of 8.2 g/t gold from 396.5 metres and 4 metres of 5.9 g/t gold from 420 metres (both in hole 056) in an extension of known mineralization in the Shaft 1 area.
Under the agreement with First Mining, Auteco can earn up to 80% of Pickle Crow by spending $10 million on exploration over five years, issuing cash payments totalling $4.1 million, and issuing 125 million shares to First Mining.
Pickle Crow produced nearly 1.5 million oz. of gold at grades of 16.14 g/t gold between 1935 and 1966.