Tasmania is home to several world-renowned deposits and is rich in diverse mineral resources and operating mines.
When Flynn Gold (ASX:FG1) floated on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in June 2021, it saw an opportunity in the island state of Australia that other explorers didn’t.
Northeast Tasmania is interpreted to be part of the Western Lachlan Orogen – a geological extension of the Victorian Goldfields. This part of Tasmania has significant historic high-grade gold production, including the Beaconsfield Gold Mine, which is a dominant producer of some 2Moz @ 15g/t Au.
Additionally, Tasmania has established infrastructure such as rail and ports and a skilled workforce, with a stable political and regulatory environment.
As Flynn Gold Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Neil Marston explains to Mining.com.au in part one of a two-part series, prior to listing the company was all about acquiring assets predominantly in Tasmania.
“The basis for focusing on northeast Tasmania for gold, really was the genesis of the geological connection between the Victorian goldfields and northeast Tasmania“
“The guys behind the company, they were Tasmanian born or Tasmanian raised geologists, guys like Sam Garrett and Sean Westbrook, our exploration manager, very competent Tasmanian geologists. So, they know Tasmania like the back of their hand. And they’ve pulled those assets together before we listed.
The basis for focusing on northeast Tasmania for gold, really was the genesis of the geological connection between the Victorian goldfields and northeast Tasmania. From a geological point of view, northeast Tasmania is connected or very similar to the Western Lachlan Orogen, which hosts all the rich gold deposits in Victoria.”
Marston says that in 2016-17 the Fosterville mine had its large discoveries happening at the Swan Zone, which generated a fresh wave of excitement about Victorian gold exploration. Whilst many companies have spent that time pivoting their focus in Victoria as a result, other regions such as Tasmania have been mostly overlooked.
Flynn Gold is now one of the biggest gold exploration spenders in Tasmania.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released figures on exploration spend for the financial year to 30 June 2023, which shows in Victoria some $117 million has been spent on gold exploration, while in Tasmania it’s only been $8 million.
“And of that $8 million, Flynn Gold has probably spent about half of it. We’ve spent about $4 million on exploration in Tasmania in the last 12 months“
“And of that $8 million, Flynn Gold has probably spent about half of it. We’ve spent about $4 million on exploration in Tasmania in the last 12 months. If you take Flynn Gold out of the equation the only other gold exploration going on is on the west coast around places like Henty, which is the only operating gold mine in Tasmania at the moment.
No one’s been doing much work looking for gold in northeast Tasmania.”
In northeast Tasmania, Flynn Gold’s portfolio comprises 9 exploration licences prospective for gold and tin, including the Golden Ridge and Portland projects. In northern Tasmania, Flynn hold the Firetower gold-cobalt-tungsten project and further west the Henty Zinc-Lead-Silver project with multiple drill targets
Flynn Gold’s parcel of ground covers some key areas – the Golden Ridge area in particular has been a main focus.
“And that’s really been quite an exciting development because at Golden Ridge there ‘s a well known granodiorite intrusion. So, we’re looking at what we believe is an intrusive related gold system. In those systems, the gold precipitates in the whole interaction between this intrusion, which comes up from the depths as a hot melt and it basically has broken up the existing ground, cooking it up, creating cracks, fractures and opening up these pathways through which the hot fluids come through. These fluids bring all the precious and base metals into the system which have then accumulated.
Historically there’s been old timers workings along the contact between the granite and the sediment, so that was a good clue that there is great gold potential there.”
Brilliant first hole
When Flynn Gold listed on the ASX, it drilled 14 holes at the Brilliant prospect at Golden Ridge. In May 2022, the rig was moved across to Trafalgar to start drilling and the first hole (TFD002), which was drilled, testing under the old shaft at the Trafalgar mine where a hole drilled in 2013 intersected 5m @ 12.56g/t and included 0.4m @ 150g/t Au from 202m.
The Trafalgar mine reported historic production of some 46 tonnes averaging about 137g/t Au.
“With that first hole, the crew was very excited. We intersected about 4 zones of gold mineralisation and then we’ve progressively been drilling, stepping out to the east and west, extending these zones.”
That excitement has continued for the company as it advances work across the Golden Ridge project. The project consists of multiple prospects and historical gold workings along the 8km-long intrusive contact zone.
In 2022, Flynn completed a regional scout RC drilling program at several prospects, intersecting gold in each location.
Last month, in an update to the market on its diamond drilling program at Trafalgar, Flynn reported further ‘exceptional’ results. Drillhole TFDD015, designed to test for ‘high-grade’ gold mineralisation at depth beneath the historical Trafalgar main shaft some 75m below the previous drillholes, intersecting 0.4m @ 137.8g/t at 354m depth.
Drilling has now revealed multiple vein intersections grading more than 100g/t Au from the surface to over 400 metres depth and over 400 metres in strike, highlighting the potential for Golden Ridge to hold a significant gold inventory.
Historic high-grade goldfields
Meanwhile, in late September 2023 diamond drilling started at the Warrentinna Project testing a high-grade, near-surface gold target zone identified by historical drill results.
Warrentinna is located 40km northwest of Golden Ridge and the goldfield is defined by numerous historic workings and largely untested prospects over a strike length of 6km. The tenement was recently acquired from Greatland Gold (LSE:GGP) and encompasses 2 historic goldfields – Forester and Warrentinna.
High-grade gold deposits were mined at both fields in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Marston says Warrentinna has many similarities to the historic high-grade New Golden Gate gold mine at Mathinna, just 40 to the south.
“The New Golden Gate was mined down to 500 metres from the late 1880s through to 1926. They mined about 250,000oz at 26 grams per tonne average grade at the new Golden Gate Mine so we’re definitely in the right location in terms of the very high grades found in these goldfields historically.”
Marston notes that while Tasmania does have Flynn’s attention, this week lithium exploration over recently identified pegmatites at its Lake Johnston Project in Western Australia has commenced.
Lake Johnston is located to the east of and adjacent to TG Metals (ASX:TG6) ground, just 7km southeast of its recent Burmeister Lithium discovery. It is also located 3.5km southeast of and adjacent to Charger Metals’ (ASX:CHR) Mt Gordon prospect, where multiple lithium soil anomalies have been identified.
Flynn regards Lake Johnston as ‘highly prospective’ for lithium in spodumene-rich pegmatites as demonstrated by the recent discovery of outcropping pegmatite on FG1’s ground during reconnaissance mapping.
This week Flynn has deployed an exploration team to undertake mapping and soil sampling across a ‘highly prospective’ 5-kilometre-long corridor over the mapped pegmatites to assist with target generation for follow-up drillhole planning.
“I think the larger gold producers would be looking at us because for them it’s cheaper and quicker to buy ounces than it is to go and pay their own exploration costs. That’s why there’s always this space for junior explorers to exist because we’re able to get things done a lot cheaper and in a more efficient way than the big producers“
As Marston explains in part two of this series, Flynn Gold has plenty of opportunities ahead and as one of the major gold players in Tasmania, it’s aiming to garner the attention of some large gold miners.
While it’s still early days, the CEO has firm views about what the growth profile looks like for Flynn.
“I think the larger gold producers would be looking at us because for them it’s cheaper and quicker to buy ounces than it is to go and pay their own exploration costs. That’s why there’s always this space for junior explorers to exist because we’re able to get things done a lot cheaper and in a more efficient way than the big producers.”
Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au
Images: Flynn Gold