In this short interview, Mr. Tim Neall, Project Geologist for Aton Resources (TSX.V:AAN), and I discuss the West Garida prospect. This was an exciting new discovery that is near the Hamama West project, but has some significant differences as we discuss. See the full release here.
Peter Bell: Hi Tim, thanks for joining me. What an exciting announcement of initial prospecting at West Garida. That grab sample with 99 g/t gold is the highest grade gold that I’ve heard of at the Abu Marawat Concession. What attracted you to this area in the first place?
Tim Neall: The area we now refer to as West Garida is not one we selected deliberately, Peter. It is close to the Hamama deposit, but it is very inaccessible. It is just a kilometer or so east of Hamama and we first accessed it when we constructed a road into this area to conduct geophysics over the Hamama deposit.
Peter Bell: OK. Serendipity always seems to have play a part in these exciting discoveries. How did you find these veins when you did gain access to the area with this road?
Tim Neall: During the construction of the geophysics road, I happened to go to see how the local contractor was progressing. While up on the mountain, I spotted some scars on the opposite side of a small valley. On investigation, these scars proved to be ancient mine workings on a series of shallow-dipping quartz veins. They were significantly more extensive than some of the other small scratchings in the area.
It took less than 10 minutes to find a sample of gossanous quartz vein containing tiny grains of visible gold at one of the vein outcrops, the one we now refer to as #1 vein.
Peter Bell: Wow. Visible gold, eh? What did you do next?
Tim Neall: A few weeks later I returned with a small team of geologist to sample the veins and map the general area in detail. The exposure of the veins was poor and sampling the in situ veins was possible in only a few places, but they are clearly gently dipping structures hosted mainly by rhyolite or quartz porphyry. A further vein, which we call the #4 vein, was found during this work. We also took samples over the whole area at that time, which have returned highly encouraging results.
Peter Bell: To find indications of a gold deposit that outcrops and dips gently is pretty exciting, Tim. Early days, but I would suspect the geometry there is favourable. Let’s talk about geological specifics for a moment. Particularly, this comparison to Hamama, which is only a kilometer to the west. I hear that there are gold-bearing veins at this prospect, is that similar to what we see at Hamama?
Tim Neall: No, the Hamama deposit is a different type of deposit completely. It formed more or less simultaneously with the host volcanic ashes and lavas in a shallow aqueous environment. The West Garida veins formed significantly later and at depth. They are void fillings in sub-horizontal fractures, which suggests there was a significant vertical-strain component to the overall stress at the time of their formation. I say that because the effect of gravity is to try and keep horizontal fractures closed. In turn, this suggests that the veins are related to orogenic processes.
Peter Bell: Interesting to think that the two areas could be so close at surface today, but have such different geological histories. And I do like to hear that mineralization at West Garida could have occurred much later and at greater depths than Hamama because it raises all kinds of questions about the local geology – how did it get brought to surface? I’ve heard that this area is a back-arc rift, but that’s a topic for another day.
Peter Bell: Looking at the geological map I notice that West Garida is close to the edge of the granite, is that significant?
Tim Neall: I am not sure, Peter. The proximity to the granites in itself does not necessarily imply a link. As you just alluded to the geological history here is relatively complex.
Granite-related mineralization usually contains one or more of the “granite suite” of elements, which comprise arsenic, tungsten, molybdenum, tellurium, bismuth, etc. The mineralization at West Garida carries very little of these elements. In fact, apart from gold and a little silver there is very little else in the veins. Unlike the Hamama deposit, the total sulphide content of these veins is low – probably never more than 2% sulphides. The only other metals present at West Garida are traces of lead and copper. Based on all of that, I would say that the mineralization is probably unrelated to the granite.
Peter Bell: I will point out that there is zinc associated with the lead, as expected, and there is silver with the gold as electrum. Now, I have to ask: If the mineralization is not related to the granite then what is it related to?
Tim Neall: That’s a good question, Peter. One of the most discussed questions in the whole field of geology! There is probably more than one possible source of the mineralizing fluids in orogenic type deposits, but it’s too early say for this prospect.
The relationship of West Garida type veins to other veins in the wider area is also unclear. There are similar veins in a part of the concession we call Black Gaharish about 25km ENE. They are similar, flat dipping veins with a very simple mineralogy hosted, in part, by volcanic rocks.
Similar veins hosted by the older granites are wide spread along an arc-shaped belt between West Garida and Black Gaharish with a gap only where the belt is cut by the younger Jabal Maghrabiyah Granite. Interestingly, some samples of quartz vein from West Garida contain patches of epidote and brown garnet suggesting the effects of thermal metamorphism on the veins, perhaps from the younger granite.
Peter Bell: Wow. Great to hear that you are starting to understand the regional geology at the Abu Marawat Concession. And to encounter grades like this at West Garida makes the whole thing that much more interesting. Thanks, Tim. Until next time!
Please note that I have been compensated to prepare and distribute this promotional material.
This document contains statements that are forward looking statements and are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in the Company’s periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Such information contained herein represents management’s best judgment as of the date hereof based on information currently available. The Company does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.