Novo Resources Corp President Quinton Hennigh on Witwatersrand 2.0
Novo Resources Corp (CVE:NVO)(OTCMKTS:NSRPF)(FRA:1NO), a featured Midas Letter pick from 2011, has been a long time coming, but Chairman and President Dr. Quinton reminds subscribers that this extraordinary Witwatersrand look-alike is the result of the theory that first attracted Dr. Hennigh to the project in the first place. He explains the remarkable relationship between the precipitation of gold due to the advent of an oxygenated atmosphere during the earliest geological history of our planet.
James West: Quinton, thanks for joining me today.
Quinton Hennigh: Thank you, James.
James West: Quinton, let’s talk a bit about what’s going on with Novo Resources. It suddenly sprang into life back in July; what’s driving all the interest, suddenly?
Quinton Hennigh: Well, we’ve put together a pretty impressive property here in Port Arthur, Australia. We’re in the northern parts of the state of Western Australia. We’ve been looking at a very unusual type of ore deposit hosted by conglomerates. We’ve been exploring for this for about seven years now. Novo was founded exclusively to search for this type of deposit. We’ve been focused on one area called Beatons Creek, drilled it for resource, and we’ve been advancing that towards production.
About a year ago, we got wind of yet another deposit of this type, a discovery that had been made, and based on some limited information we really decided to aggressively pursue this. We staked ground starting around February. Between staking ground and cutting some other land deals, we put together about 10,000 square kilometres that covers a really large gold showing that’s unusual in nature. It’s hosted by conglomerate beds which are nearly flat-lying they’re dipping at a very low angle. We took a bulk sample in early July; the grade from that sample was reported early August, at over 2 ounces per tonne. It’s one sample out of a really big property, but it at least gives us some sense of this is a really unique, very special gold system.
A lot of people saw movies and whatnot associated with the bulk sample exercise, because we saw visible gold nuggets – its a very coarse gold system. It’s very easy to get excited by that kind of style of mineralization.
James West: Sure. So when you say conglomerates, I recall I first heard about what you were doing with Novo, as I recall, I thought it was to do with hot springs replacement system at one project, and so when you say conglomerates, are you referring to sedimentary conglomerates as a result of hot springs replacement systems? Is that even possible?
Quinton Hennigh: No, this is entirely different. This thing really has no association with hot water whatsoever. The gold that is deposited in this conglomerate, we don’t know exactly where the original gold is. You know, there’s not like the gold one would expect to be derived out of the weathering of the basement, for example. But the chemistry of the gold matches a key to your type of gold that was formed at a certain period in this history, potentially through precipitation of that gold out of seawater. And the chemistry of earth’s atmosphere changed around 2.7 billion to 2.9 billion years ago, such that the gold prior to that which was quite soluble in seawater began to precipitate out. And my view is that it went on to a system, that there may be something quite unique in earth’s history. It’s a very, very old gold deposit; the gold particles that we find in the conglomerate have been tumbled around a little bit, they’ve been warped and rounded to a degree. But the origin of that gold is something special.
James West: Okay, interesting. So then, what led you to surmise this kind of deposit existed?
Quinton Hennigh: Well, I’d done some work on this type of system back in the 1990s. The analog to this is the Witwatersrand Basin Basin down in South Africa. About that time, I was working under a professor to, he was my graduate professor, who kind of a unique idea that the gold in the Witwatersrand Basin originated through sedimentary process, basically a syngenetic process, meaning the gold formed at the time the sediments were laid down.
I started work on a dissertation to prove that. The dissertation was meant to be funded by Gold Fields, and they provided many, many samples to me, but unfortunately, funding fell through for that study. But in the short time I got to work on it, I analyzed quite a few samples and found that the gold indeed was syngenetic in these samples, but it wasn’t derived from his kind of thesis, which was kind of like you said earlier, a hot spring kind of system, that precipitated gold.
Instead, I found that the gold was most likely deposited during the shift in chemistry that I mentioned, which was brought on by the emergence of photosynthesis. There was a period around 2.5, 2.8, 2.9 billion years ago, when cellular bacteria evolved and flourished in a big way, and those bacteria actually took sunlight, to convert it to chlorophyll, this is like the early beginnings of photosynthesis and evolution. And in doing so, they created oxygen. Oxygen, as soon as it comes into contact with soluble gold, it causes the gold to precipitate and form atomic gold particles.
So my view is that yes, the gold is syngenetic and its brought on by this worldwide precipitation event.
James West: Wow, interesting. So the sound quality is just a bit rough here, and so the last part of that sentence – you said, so the gold is syngenetic?
Quinton Hennigh: Correct, yes, it’s syngenetic, meaning it was deposited in response to the emergence of this sign of bacteria and the first introduction of oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.
James West: Wow. That’s really fascinating stuff, actually. Okay, so let’s – we could get bogged down in that historical geology quite a bit, I’m sure. Let’s talk a bit about, what are your next steps? You’ve got 56 million in the bank, you’ve got Kirkland Lake Gold as a partner, you’ve got Sumitomo developing Beatons Creek. What’s the priority, and what’s exciting you most?
Quinton Hennigh: Well, look, this exploration we’re doing at Karratha, the new project, is certainly driving the excitement behind the company. I find the whole region interesting. So everything we’ve done at Beatons Creek and what we’re seeing now at Karratha geologically is a marvel; it’s absolutely amazing. But you know, that said, the exploration we’re going to do at Karratha going forward is going to be very exciting. We’ve already had a little taste of what to expect. The trench, the sample that I mentioned earlier, you know, the two ounce per tonne grade, that’s nothing to sneeze at; we hope we can demonstrate consistent grades like that. There are no guarantees, but we do see fairly good continuity of the conglomerate bed, and from the small holes that people have dug in the ground looking for gold nuggets, we get a sense that there is mineralization throughout the conglomerate sequence.
So we’re quite optimistic about the trenching and large diameter drilling that we’re have planned, and we hope to demonstrate to the world that this could be something just absolutely marvellous.
James West: You bet. So Kirkland Lake Gold, are they just an investment partner, or are they going to help on the exploration side as well?
Quinton Hennigh: There’s no formal arrangement to help on the exploration side, but I anticipate working on occasion with some of their geologic staff; they’re very, very sharp people. We’d love to work with them, so there’s no issues there – we’d actually be delighted to have assistance.
Really, this is just an investment at this point, and I see there’s a strong vote of support. Here we have just one trench in the ground, and no drill holes, no further exploration work. So for them to stick their neck out and invest money like this really is a testament to the recognition this is a high quality gold project.
James West: Right. Are there any other gold systems like this in existence in Australia anywhere?
Quinton Hennigh: Not really in Australia, other than Beatons Creek. This is really kind of a unique occurrence. You know, there’s a few occurrences around the world: the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa, of course, is the best known. Its gold contribution to world production is around a third, so 1.6 billion ounces or so, but no, these are very rare systems, and you know, this region in the Pilbara is truly exceptional.
James West: Sure. So are you suggesting that this has the same potential as the Witwatersrand?
Quinton Hennigh: I would like to say so. What I would urge people to remember is, it took 130 years since the discovery of the Witwatersrand for them to find that 1.6 billion ounces. It’s not like you can go out and drill a couple holes and come back with those kind of numbers; it’s unrealistic. But you know, what we can see at surface here is very intriguing. We can see demonstrable continuity over many kilometers of strike, and if you make the assumption that those beds dip into the ground and could continue for a number of kilometres, it’s easy to start envisioning tonnes. And then if the grade supports that, then sure, that is a possibility.
James West: Right. Okay, Quinton, let’s leave it there; that’s a great update. I thank you so much for your time today.
Quinton Hennigh: Thank you.
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