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Tibooburra gold find

Monday, 19th September, 2011

PROMISING: Sericite-Altered Quartz Stockwork located at the New Bendigo prospect near Tibooburra. PROMISING: Sericite-Altered Quartz Stockwork located at the New Bendigo prospect near Tibooburra.

By John Casey

The outback village of Tibooburra is looming as the latest hot spot for gold mining with a WA-based company “very encouraged” by its initial drilling program near the township and further exploration now underway.

Meteoric Resources, a gold, iron and base metal explorer with a portfolio of projects in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, has invested almost $300,000 in the Tibooburra area so far and is optimistic about its future prospects.

“We are very encouraged with the results so far from our shallow drilling and initial test work,” Meteoric Resources Director of Exploration George Sakalidis said from Perth.

“Really, we have only just started, but there is the potential for a large mineral resource there.

“With the price of gold at the moment you don’t need particularly high grades to make it economical to mine the area,” Mr Sakalidis continued.

Meteoric Resources, which listed on the ASX in 2004, was initially attracted to Tibooburra, 300km north of BH, by the patterns of mineralisation which have been likened to the prolific Victorian goldfields.

“The analogy with the Victorian goldfields relates to the age of the rock and similarities of mineralisation style, timing and structural setting,” Mr Sakalidis said.

“There is a lot of quartz through the rock very close to the surface and next we need to determine what grades exist further below.”

Surprisingly, there has been little systematic exploration around Tibooburra, a name that is derived from the Aboriginal word for “heaps of rocks”.

This is despite the discovery of gold at nearby Mount Browne in 1881 when thousands of miners arrived in the town which led the government to survey the town site and build a post office.

In 1887 Goldfield’s Warden, William Slee, reported 19 gold puddling machines at work, with a population at and about Tibooburra of 250. The 2006 census listed the population at 161.

“The area we are working has not been drilled a lot before with only two of the numerous vein systems drilled previously and no drilling below a depth of 60 metres,” Mr Sakalidis explained.

“Tibooburra has a lot of small workings, but not too many big ones.”

Meteoric’s Tibooburra prospects - named New Bendigo and Kirk - have been explored with first pass rotary air blast and aircore drilling of 63 holes.

At New Bendigo wide-spaced soil sampling of a 500-metres by 50m pattern identified a broad four-kilometre long area of elevated gold values.

 Adding to the prospectivity, an area of old gold diggings occur over a 1.7-kilometre strike length.

Old gold workings occur on several vein systems with 60,000 ounces of gold production recorded from both bedrock and alluvial sources.

Mr Sakalidis said the company’s geologist, Alex Romanoff, was currently on site at Tibooburra and further drilling was likely to take place before the end of the year.

“Overall we are looking at an area of 450 square kilometers of exploration licences and the target areas are well defined,” Mr Sakalidis said.

“We have conducted only one drilling program so we don’t want to get too carried away, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that further exploration produces similar results.”

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