Many Peaks Gold: reaching the summit with a ‘shallowly drilled’ project portfolio

This article is a sponsored feature from Mining.com.au partner Many Peaks Gold Ltd. It is not financial advice. Talk to a registered financial expert before making investment decisions.

Many Peaks Gold (ASX:MPG) is an emerging diversified mineral explorer undertaking a dual-track strategy encompassing both organic and inorganic growth opportunities.

The company has recently increased its exposure to discovery opportunities through the direct staking of ground and also non-dilutive acquisitions this year. It will continue to evaluate additional exploration and development projects in both Australia and overseas with a focus on further growth and diversification of its portfolio.

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Executive Chairman Travis Schwertfeger says ultimately for Many Peaks, the objective is discovery and value-add through cost effective exploration by developing a pipeline of prospective projects.

To this end the company has secured several assets this year, including the right to acquire a 100% interest in the Yarrol and Mt Steadman gold projects located in central Queensland.

This transaction expanded the company’s footprint to 1,080km-square within an historic and well-established gold province of Queensland. In addition to the multiple advanced stage exploration gold targets at Yarrol, the project is also host to the recent Plateau cobalt discovery. The latter enhances Many Peaks’ exposure to the all-important critical minerals sector in addition to the Odyssey REE project and Aska Lithium project acquisitions in Canada earlier this year.

While the cobalt exposure is a welcome addition and Many Peaks is gradually increasing exposure to the critical minerals market, the Executive Chairman explains that Many Peaks also remains focused on the growth of its gold assets in central Queensland.

“We’re exposed to significant upside in the critical minerals sector through what has been non-dilutive acquisitions and the direct staking of ground in Canada. That pipeline of projects positions us for a significant re-rate with early success where we are targeting low hanging fruit at each of our Canadian projects.

Further down our pipeline of projects, Many Peaks has a significant land position in a place (in Queensland) where you’ve got demonstrated gold mineralisation in a proven mining district with development infrastructure. It’s the right address for building ounces in an established tier-one jurisdiction such as Australia.”

“It’s the right address for building ounces in an established tier-one jurisdiction such as Australia”

Schwertfeger tells Mining.com.au he and his team consider Yarrol in particular to be an exciting exploration opportunity and amongst its several advanced gold exploration targets.

Over the coming months, Yarrol in particular provides a compelling opportunity for Many Peaks. Diamond drilling results received in early 2023 include 17.8m @ 4.01g/t gold provided structural insights for optimised drill orientations. Schwertfeger says the company is particularly excited about the west dipping veins sets hosting significant gold grades at Yarrol.

“A key feature to emphasise at Yarrol, is the previous drilling was suboptimal in orientation.  Where historical drilling is intersecting the mineralised zones and returning lower grades, they were likely drilling between veins oriented sub-parallel to the historical drilling.

Turning the rigs to drill in a new direction will expose sampling to a high density of west dipping mineralised veins poorly tested in previous drilling, which have the potential to better demonstrate the continuity of gold through the mineralised corridor.

Drilling on 2 orientations to better understand the multiple vein orientations has the potential to really change the outlook on Yarrol. And if we can start to link up these sections of high-grade then we will build ounces very quickly.”

During the September quarter Many Peaks is planning follow-up drilling on open-ended gold mineralisation at the advanced gold targets at Yarrol. With a revised structural model for the gold mineralisation in hand indicating potential for significant volume increases, an oriented diamond drilling campaign is anticipated to provide results to optimise drilling ahead of systematic extension drilling to extend into early 2024 targeting resource delineation.

Both the Yarrol and Steadman projects were shallowly drilled in historical work, with several ‘high-grade’ intercepts on outcropping mineralisation previously intersected within 60m of the surface at Yarrol. Success in better defining the structural controls on gold mineralisation at Yarrol has potential to add volume to mineralisation in the near surface. Additionally, the expanding footprint of mineralisation would also open up multiple down-dip extension targets for follow-up drilling.

Beginning to climb

In May 2023, Many Peaks entered into a binding agreement with a wholly owned Australian subsidiary of TSX Venture Exchange listed company EMX Royalty Corporation to secure an exclusive right to acquire a 100% interest in the Yarrol and Steadman projects.

The Yarrol Project is the site of historical mining activities along a significant extent of the Yarrol fault zone where mining exploited steeply dipping mineralised structures intermittently in the 1800s through to the 1930s, with historical production averaging an estimated grade of 10g/t gold.

The first drilling into the project in over 15 years consists of 2 diamond holes with only selected sample intervals taken from drillholes DD22-YA187 (YA187) and DD22-YA188 (YA188).

Historical drilling totals more than 17,800m of drilling from 201 drillholes averaging 89m in length (with only 4 holes to date exceeding 160m length) and the deepest hole on the project a 300.2m deep vertical hole returning 4m @ 3.63g/t gold from 192m depth with no follow-up to date.

Very little drilling activity for gold has taken place since, and insufficient drilling material has been retained for validation work to update previous estimates in accordance with the principles of the 2012 edition of the JORC code.

The Executive Chairman explains: “In a nutshell, there’s high-grade outcropping gold mineralisation with shallow high-grade gold intercepts on limited strike extent drilling within a 4km long corridor of favourable lithology.

A lot of majors were in Queensland advancing exploration over the years and this is another case where you had companies including Cyprus (Amax Minerals Co.) in there doing exploration through the early 1990s and a takeover by Phelps Dodge resulted in a corporate restructure and then ceasing exploration. Exploration continued into the late 90s and early 2000s by several juniors and then Yarrol has been tied up in private companies with limited funding and little to no exploration for the last … going on 20 years now.

“In a nutshell, there’s high-grade outcropping gold mineralisation with shallow high-grade gold intercepts…”

The diamond drilling reported this year demonstrated the mineralisation there remains really quite open and more drilling is needed to step out and expand the footprint of that previous work with additional oriented core to refine the understanding of controls on the mineralisation.”

The Yarrol Project is a 560km-square landholding located 30km south-east of the township of Monto and 100km west of the regional city of Bundaberg in Queensland. Situated less than 3km southeast of Many Peaks’ existing project areas, the Yarrol acquisition comprises a 46km extension of the prospective Yarrol Geological Province and the combined tenure forms a dominant consolidated land position host to multiple advanced stage gold exploration targets.

Schwertfeger notes the area is a well-endowed mineral province hosting a number of significant historical and active gold and base metal mines and exploration projects. These include the nearby Mt Rawdon gold mine operated by Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) located between the Mt Steadman and Yarrol projects, and Cannindah Resources’ (ASX:CAE) Mt Cannindah copper-gold resource, situated 8km south of the company’s Mt Weary Gold Project.

With this acquisition and inclusion into the Many Peaks portfolio as the catalyst for near-term growth, Schwertfeger says the company will actively pursue other similar types of deals that also add value.

Ascension through acquisitions

“We’re obviously not afraid of the early stage projects, where these projects provide significant leverage for valuation increase through exploration success. With the project risk associated with this end of the project pipeline, we prefer to stay focused on tier-one jurisdictions in the world and minimise sovereign risks associated with exploration growth opportunities.”

Many Peaks remains open to all options – whether an outright acquisition or options to earn-in to a project. The latter has so far proved a way to keep costs down in which capital is being deployed into the ground initially before making a final decision on whether or not to execute the acquisition.

The Executive Chairman adds: “Our focus is very much on in-the-ground spend and adding value at the project site before making a decision on an acquisition, whether that’s by way of option or farm-in – we’re open to either opportunity.

“We’ve been actively seeking to build a pipeline of exploration projects such as the direct staking of lithium exploration opportunities in Newfoundland”

We’ve been actively seeking to build a pipeline of exploration projects such as the direct staking of lithium exploration opportunities in Newfoundland. However, the opportunity to bring in something a bit more advanced with the Yarrol Project was exciting for us.”

As mentioned, Many Peaks plans on having a pipeline of exploration projects in its portfolio at various stages of advancement. This could include developing assets into production although Schwertfeger notes that would involve enhancing the company’s board and bringing in more talent.

“Currently our board is very much structured around identifying exploration opportunities and advancing towards resource and initial Scoping Studies. And then we will weigh up what provides value to shareholders at that time, whether that’s divestment, bringing in joint venture partners or enhancing our board with engineering and development experience and developing projects.”

Not that the company would need to add much to its current team.

Schwertfeger is a geologist with more than 20 years’ global industry experience primarily in gold and copper projects across Australia, Africa, as well as South and North America. He previously held several technical roles in exploration and production including over 7 years with Newmont (NYSE:NEM) where he spent time working throughout West Africa and Australia. Schwertfeger also has had roles at Alicanto Minerals and most recently with Exore Resources.

Rounding out the current board are independent non-executive directors Adam Beamond – an experienced resource financier having spent over 20 years’ in arranging and providing both project and corporate finance, risk management strategies and corporate advisory services; and Marcus Harden – a geologist with extensive gold and base metals exploration and management experience throughout Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It also includes Company Secretary Aaron Bertolatti – a chartered accountant and with over 10 years’ experience in the mining industry and accounting professions.

Schwertfeger notes the current team is experienced enough to pursue the objectives Many Peaks has already set out, which includes further exploration work and drilling.

Approaching the summit

“Conceptually we believe the previous drilling at the Yarrol project was suboptimal in orientation. There’s multiple vein orientations hosting gold mineralisation at the project, and the previous work is not intersecting many of the quartz vein arrays hosting gold in the mineralised corridor.

What we want to do is get a bit more oriented core for proof of concept in September.  If we continue to see intercepts on a new drill orientation such as the 17.8m at 4 grams per tonne gold as we step out, then that opens up the potential to extend mineralisation along strike and down dip in follow-up drilling. 

With an improved structural model for targeting, and the extent of existing drilling at Yarrol, the company is positioned to quickly build ounces at Yarrol and work towards a mineral resource estimation in 2024.

We’re well-financed to drill our current programs and explore with follow-up drilling into 2024 with a little over $3 million in the bank at the end of this financial year.”

To round out 2023, Many Peaks is still expecting results on the cobalt mineralisation at Yarrol and is planning drilling campaigns at both its Yarrol and Steadman projects.  Concurrent with reconnaissance campaigns on its Canadian rare earth and lithium projects where exposure to significant discovery from early-stage work remains.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: Many Peaks Gold Ltd
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.