Aton Resources Inc. (AAN: TSX-V) is very pleased to provide investors with a further update on the now completed Phase 1 reverse circulation percussion (“RC”) drilling programme at its advanced Rodruin prospect, within the Company’s 100% owned Abu Marawat Concession (“Abu Marawat” or the “Concession”), located in the Eastern Desert of Egypt.
- Final assay results have now been received from a further 12 drill holes, ROP-018 to ROP-029, drilled to the north of the main ancient workings at Aladdin’s Hill, and also at the Spiral Pit zone and from the Central Valley (see Figure 1);
- Drill hole ROP-029 at the Spiral Pit zone (“SPZ”) 350m southeast of Aladdin’s Hill, was mineralised from surface, returning an intersection of 20m @ 5.36 g/t Au and 15.9 g/t Ag;
- The other 3 holes completed at the SPZ all intersected mineralisation from surface, including intercepts of 23m @ 2.49 g/t Au and 24.2 g/t Ag (hole ROP-026), 8m @ 2.03 g/t Au and 5.9 g/t Ag (hole ROP-027), and 5m @ 3.71 g/t Au, 14.4 g/t Ag and 3.82% Zn (hole ROP-028);
- All 10 holes completed to their planned depths continued to intersect near-surface mineralisation. Other mineralised intercepts included 4m @ 6.71 g/t Au, 7.9 g/t Ag and 0.70% Zn, from 1m depth (hole ROP-018, Aladdin’s Hill area), 12m @ 1.63 g/t Au, 5.3 g/t Ag and 0.66% Zn, from 4m (hole ROP-020, Aladdin’s Hill area), and 32m @ 0.92 g/t Au and 7.0 g/t Ag, from 11m (hole ROP-024, drilled from the Central Valley).
“We are again very pleased with the latest set of assay results from our Phase 1 drilling programme at Rodruin which continue to show the area’s potential” said Mark Campbell, President and CEO. “These results again confirm the development of gold-silver-zinc mineralisation over a wide area of the South Ridge at Rodruin, both at and near to surface. The confirmation of high-grade mineralisation from surface in our first drill holes at the Spiral Pit zone is very significant, and gives us great confidence that we will continue to identify zones of higher grade mineralisation at Rodruin within the overall mineralised area. The aim of the first phase of drilling at Rodruin was to preliminarily test the mineralisation we have mapped at surface, and these latest drilling results are certainly confirming the widespread development of gold mineralisation at Rodruin. Next year we plan to come back and follow up the results from this first phase of drilling on the South Ridge, and we also intend to start developing drill access to the very high grade veins we have sampled on the North Ridge, as we look to continue fast-tracking exploration at Rodruin. In the meantime I would like to thank all our shareholders for their support during 2018, and to wish on behalf of all of our employees, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our shareholders, contractors and suppliers.”
RC drilling at Rodruin
The Phase 1 RC drilling programme at Rodruin has now been completed, with 50 holes having been drilled for a total of 4,125 metres (see news release dated December 5, 2018). Assay results have now been received from a further 12 holes, ROP-018 to ROP-029 (see Table 1 for collar details). Full details of the gold mineralised intervals from these holes are provided in Appendix A, and selected intersections are shown in Table 2. Holes ROP-018 to ROP-021 were drilled to the north and northeast of the main ancient workings at Aladdin’s Hill; holes ROP-022 to ROP-025 were drilled from a pad in the Central Valley to test the lower part of the Central Buttress zone (“CBZ”), and also under the North Ridge; and holes ROP-026 to ROP-029 were drilled at the SPZ (see Figure 1).
Aladdin’s Hill (north)
Drill holes ROP-018 to ROP-021 were drilled to the north and northeast of the main zone of ancient mine workings on the high-grade phyllic-hosted mineralisation at Aladdin’s Hill (see Figure 3, and news release dated October 1, 2018). Hole ROP-019 was abandoned at 5m after intersecting ancient workings.
Hole ROP-018 intersected 4m @ 6.71 g/t Au from 1m depth (see Table 1 and Appendix A), in gossanous carbonate rocks, as well as 10m @ 0.88 g/t Au from 40m, in carbonates on the contact with metasediments.
Hole ROP-020 intersected 12m @ 1.63 g/t Au from 4m depth, in weathered and gossanous carbonate rocks. ROP-020 also intersected wider lower grade zones including 24m @ 0.68 g/t Au from 46m, in weathered carbonates, and 25m @ 0.42 g/t Au from 91m, associated with weathered, and phyllic altered pyritic slates and carbonates.
Drill holes ROP-022 to ROP-025, were drilled from a single pad in the Central Valley (see Figure 4). 3 of the holes, ROP-022 to ROP-024, were drilled to the south and southwest to test gossanous slates and mineralisation exposed on the lower CBZ. Hole ROP-025 was drilled to the northeast for stratigraphic purposes, and to test for possible carbonate-hosted mineralisation under the North Ridge. Drill hole ROP-022 was abandoned after hitting a surprisingly large >5m wide void at 15m, presumed to be related to ancient underground workings.
Hole ROP-024 intersected a wide zone of mineralisation, returning an intersection of 32m @ 0.92 g/t Au from 11m, associated with weathered and sometimes gossanous carbonates. Hole ROP-023 intersected a similar but lower grade zone of 19m @ 0.49 g/t Au from 22m, also associated with weathered and gossanous carbonates.
Hole ROP-025 collared to the northeast under the North Ridge intersected several narrow zones of Au-Ag mineralisation associated with contacts between weathered and gossanous carbonate units and slates or metasediments. These zones included 4m @ 1.60 g/t Au and 21.1 g/t Ag, from 76m depth, and probably represent depth extensions of zones exploited in ancient workings higher on the steep slopes of the North Ridge. Hole ROP-025 was completed in an unmineralised sequence of intercalated altered and pyritic slates and greywackes.
Spiral Pit zone
Holes ROP-026 to ROP-027 were collared from a single pad beneath the ancient Spiral Pit workings (see Figures 2 and 5) at the SPZ. There is only limited access in this area, due to the very steep nature of the southern flank of the carbonate-capped South Ridge (see Figure 2). Work is ongoing on the northern flank of the ridge, east of the Spiral Pit underground workings, to put in further drill positions, and to link up access to the CBZ. The restricted access allowed only limited and partial testing of the SPZ from this position, to date.
All 4 drill holes from this location were collared in reddish to brown gossanous mineralisation, clearly exposed on the eastern side of a north-south striking fault which controls the ancient workings at the Spiral Pit (see Figure 2). All the holes intersected good mineralisation from surface. The SPZ is structurally complex and represents a potential structural analogue to the Aladdin’s Hill area, which hosts very high-grade mineralisation (eg. ROP-003: 36m @ 12.47 g/t Au, see news release dated October 1, 2018). The relationship between the gossanous mineralisation exposed at the SPZ and high on the CBZ (see Figure 5) is currently unresolved. While there are presumed to be structural offsets between these two zones, it is also possible that the mineralisation between the SPZ and the CBZ is contiguous, and further gossanous mineralisation is being exposed in the high road currently being developed to the east of the Spiral Pit (see Figure 5).
Holes ROP-026 and ROP-027 were both drilled on an azimuth of 020°, and intersected 23m @ 2.49 g/t Au and 24.2 g/t Ag, and 8m @ 2.03 g/t Au and 5.9 g/t Ag, respectively, from surface. Mineralisation remains open to the north along this fence of 2 holes. Hole ROP-028 was collared towards the northwest and intersected 5m @ 3.71 g/t Au, 14.4 g/t Ag and 3.82% Zn before passing through the north-south striking fault, and into unmineralised metasediments (see Figures 2 and 5). The mineralisation at the SPZ dips to the north and is closed off by the fault to the west, where it is currently exposed.
Hole ROP-029 was collared towards the east, passing through ancient workings between 12-15m down the hole, and returned a high-grade intercept of 20m @ 5.36 g/t Au, 15.9 g/t Ag and 0.70% Zn from surface. The mineralisation in this hole is open to the north and the east at surface, and there is also a lower mineralised zone which returned an intersection of 5m @ 0.82 g/t Au and 15.7 g/t Ag from 24m depth. The mineralisation at the SPZ is structurally controlled and is again largely hosted by gossanous carbonate rocks, which have only limited exposure at surface.
The results from the first holes testing the lower part of the CBZ from the Central Valley, and especially at the SPZ, are very encouraging and confirm for the first time in drilling the wider distribution of Au-Ag-Zn mineralisation at Rodruin away from the initially tested Aladdin’s Hill area. The intersection of 20m @ 5.36 g/t Au returned from hole ROP-029 at the SPZ appears to confirm Aton’s interpretation that there are additional high-grade zones in the overall Rodruin prospect area. This latest tranche of assay results confirms the presence of near-surface mineralisation over a wide area of the South Ridge at Rodruin.
Further good mineralisation has been logged in drill holes ROP-31 to ROP-34, on the upper CBZ, to depths of between 50-70m from surface, associated with gossanous carbonates similar to those drilled at the SPZ. Gossanous carbonates have also been intersected in several holes testing the GF Zone, and lower on the CBZ (see Figures 1 and 5); and deep base metal sulphide mineralisation has been intersected in hole ROP-050, similar to that seen in hole ROP-017 which returned an intersection of 163m @ 0.90 g/t Au from surface. Assay results for all these holes remain pending, and it is now anticipated that the next tranche of assay results will be available for release early in January 2019.
The Company is satisfied with the completion of the Phase 1 RC programme at Rodruin, which was designed to preliminarily test the overall prospectivity of the South Ridge by drill testing mineralisation mapped at surface. The latest drilling results continue to confirm that near-surface mineralisation is distributed over a wide area of the South Ridge at Rodruin, and within the overall spread of the mineralisation there are higher grade zones and shoots, which may in some places be coarse gold-bearing and carry very high grades, such as those intersected in hole ROP-003. The intersection of sulphide-hosted mineralisation at depth continues to indicate potential for the identification of a significant body of primary hypogene mineralisation at Rodruin.
Aton plans to continue construction of access roads and drilling positions, ahead of the second phase of drilling, which is planned to start in early 2019, to follow up on the successful Phase 1 programme. The Company will also look to develop a road onto the north side of the North Ridge to provide access to the very high grade veins sampled at surface during the first phase of surface sampling, for drill testing. These quartz-sulphide veins returned assays including 321 g/t Au (see news release dated February 6, 2018). The terrain on the North Ridge is extremely rugged, and it is likely that this work will take several months to complete.
The Rodruin prospect was discovered in December 2017 by Aton geologists (see news release dated December 14, 2017), and is located approximately 18km east of the Company’s Hamama West mineral deposit. Field mapping and sampling has indicated the presence of ancient mine workings and extensive gold mineralisation over an area of at least 700m x 400m at surface. Mineralisation is associated with a sequence of carbonate and metasedimentary slate and greywacke rock types. Abundant visible gold has been identified in hand specimens from surface outcrops, and ancient dumps and underground workings, with individual selective grab samples assaying up to 321 g/t Au. The main series of ancient underground workings in the Aladdin’s Hill area has been sampled to approximately 40m below ground level, indicating continuation of the surface mineralisation at depth (see news releases dated February 6, 2018, March 5, 2018 and April 16, 2018), and drilling has now confirmed the presence of high grade gold mineralisation with individual samples returning assays of up to 221 g/t Au over metre intervals (see news release dated October 1, 2018). Drilling results released to date from Rodruin include intersections of 36m @ 12.47 g/t Au from 5m (hole ROP-003, see news release dated October 1, 2018), and 163m @ 0.90 g/t Au from surface (hole ROP-017, see news release dated November 12, 2018).
Sampling and analytical procedures
Drill holes were drilled at 140mm diameter, and the bulk percussion chip samples were collected directly into large plastic bags from the cyclone every metre, numbered with the hole number and hole depths by the drill crew, and laid out sequentially at the drill site. RC chips were logged onsite by a senior Aton geologist. The bulk 1m samples were weighed, and subsequently riffle split through a 3-tier splitter onsite by Aton field staff to produce an approximately 1/8 split, which was collected in cloth bags, numbered and tagged with the hole number and depth. The reject material from this initial bulk split was re-bagged, labelled and tagged, and the bulk reject samples will be stored and retained on site at Rodruin. A representative sample of each metre was washed, stored in marked plastic chip trays, each containing 20m of samples, photographed, and retained onsite as a permanent record of the drill hole.
All the 1m split samples were weighed again, and the samples selected for assay were riffle split onsite, typically a further 3-4 times using a smaller lab splitter, to produce a nominal c. 250-500g sample split for dispatch to the assay laboratory. The laboratory splits were allocated new sample numbers. QAQC samples were inserted into the sample runs dispatched to the assay laboratory at a nominal rate of 1 duplicate sample for every 10 drill samples, 1 blank sample every 10 samples, and 1 standard sample of a certified reference material every 40 samples. Reject material from the 1m samples, after the laboratory split had been taken, and any unused 1m splits will be retained at the Company’s Hamama facility for future reference purposes, as and when required.
The selected c. 250-500g split samples were shipped to ALS Minerals at Rosia Montana, Romania for analysis. Samples were analysed for gold by fire assay with an atomic absorption spectroscopy (“AAS”) finish (analytical code Au-AA23); and silver, copper, lead and zinc with an aqua regia digest followed by an AAS finish (analytical code AA45). High grade gold samples (>10 g/t Au) were re-analysed using analytical code Au-AA25 (also fire assay with an AAS finish). High grade Ag and base metal samples (Ag >100 g/t, and Cu, Pb, and Zn >10,000ppm or >1%) were re-analysed using the ore grade technique AA46 (also an aqua regia digest followed by an AAS finish).