Argo Gold Inc (CNSX:ARQ) (FRA:P3U) (OTCMKTS:ARBTF) Field Geologist Bill Kerr provides an update on the company’s Woco Prospect drill program and explains the history of gold discovery in the area. Argo has begun a 2500 metre drill program and plans to drill approximately 20 holes over the course of 30 days at the Northwestern Ontario site. The site features high-grade, surface showing gold that expands at depth. Argo’s drill program will be the first in the area since 1994. The Woco Prospect is situated near four existing mines and Argo controls the southern extension of the Uchi Lake Prospect in addition to Woco. Kerr walks viewers through issues with the reporting from the area’s historic drill programs and shares his optimistic outlook about Argo’s current Woco Prospect exploration.
Ed Milewski: Joining me now we have Bill Kerr, field geologist with Argo Gold Mines. Bill, nice to see you.
Bill Kerr: Thank you for inviting me.
Ed Milewski: And I understand you’re about to head up to the Woco project, which is your flagship project?
Bill Kerr: Yeah, it’s a property just east of Red Lake, and we’re starting a 2,500 metre drill program about a week from now, a week and a half from now, so I’m going up a week early just to make sure everything is ready for it. It’s a helicopter job, so we have to cut pads in advance and cut the water line in advance.
Ed Milewski: How long will that drill program take you to drill?
Bill Kerr: Around 30 to 33 days. It’s 2,500 metres, probably 20 holes. We do have a little bit of, we got a heck of a good price on contracts with the driller and the helicopter company, so we might be able to squeeze in a couple more holes on our existing budget if we get good news. Somewhere around 30 days.
Ed Milewski: Now, I know, I’ve known Judy Baker for quite a while, and she’s always been excited about this. There’s been some pretty high-grade, quite high grade showings in the past.
Bill Kerr: Yeah. Grade is king; as far as I’m concerned, in gold mines, you need high grade, and the Woco is certainly one of those. You know, there’s the multiple ounce assays over multiple metres, and you know, the funny thing is, it’s been a known surface showing since the 30’s. I mapped the surface showing a couple of weeks ago and it doesn’t look all that much; it’s 70 metres long, it’s only about, at the widest point, it’s 40 centimetres, the quartz vein, but it really opened up at depth. And it’s one of those things that really did open. It was drilled in ’93 and ’94 by very famous Red Lake geologist Chester Kuryliw and all kudos to him; he opened it up. He knows the plunge of it, the depth of it.
So we’re drilling the first holes since back in ’94 and just following up part of that system, and also some other parts of the system that we’re really excited about.
Ed Milewski: Right, right. And you’ve got a few slides that we’re going to show here throughout this interview. Now, there’s four former mines not far away from –
Bill Kerr: Well, the biggest one is the Uchi Lake Mine and yeah, there’s the Hanalda, the Jalda, the –
Ed Milewski: Okay, there we go.
Bill Kerr: And we’re just on the south boundary. The Woco prospect itself is about a kilometre south of the claim boundary.
Ed Milewski: It looks like there’s a line there.
Bill Kerr: Oh, it is. It is; all major gold deposits, or certainly most of them I’ve ever dealt with, have in Canada, are associated with some sort of break, a major break, like the Porcupine Break, the main break in Kirkland, and we’re similar here. We’ve got something called the Uchi Break, and that is the controlling factor for all these deposits north of our boundary.
Ed Milewski: Right.
Bill Kerr: And it’s also what we feel is the controlling factor for where the Woco is and where the Northgate, and when we get to the slides, it’s grossly under-explored. We think that not only the Woco has potential, but this whole Uchi Break just opened up the whole strike line that we have right down to our south boundary.
Ed Milewski: Right. So this is very early days for Argo and this project.
Bill Kerr: Yeah, it’s extremely early. It was just picked up about three years ago by Delio Tortosa and Judy Baker, and the field work was all done in 2017, and in three batches. I went in first and walked the claim lines and picked GPS to claim posts, and then found the Woco trench and stripped and sampled it, and then we went in again a second time and brought in a reflex crew to survey the old collars that were drilled by Chester, that whole survey, so we get better 3D image of the gold mineralization.
Ed Milewski: Right.
Bill Kerr: And then the last time we went into Northgate for just a very brief period in the Fall and sampled Northgate, because it wasn’t – Judy picked it up later. So that’s the only fieldwork done to date.
Ed Milewski: How far is Northgate from W –
Bill Kerr: Well, you can see on the scale on the map here, it’s about just under 2 clicks.
Ed Milewski: Okay, okay.
Bill Kerr: And then, so the Woco itself –
Ed Milewski: So, why do you call it different? I mean, is it that far apart that you have to call it a different -?
Bill Kerr: Oh, they’re completely separate showings, yeah. The Woco is oriented north-south, the Northgate –
Ed Milewski: Different veins?
Bill Kerr: Completely different veins. The Northgate’s up to 4 metres wide, and the Woco, which we’re drilling on surface, is only half a metre wide at the widest point.
Ed Milewski: But it opens at –
Bill Kerr: Yeah, we know the Argo opens at depth from the previous drilling; the Northgate was drilled by fellas in the 70s, or the 50s, I’m sorry, and also in the 30s, but we don’t have much of the data. So we’re going to pop two holes in the Northgate just to see, you know, what the drill core looks like; because none of this core has survived anything. Even the drilling in ’93, ’94 hasn’t survived.
Ed Milewski: Wow.
Bill Kerr: So yeah, if you just want me to go into the slides now?
Ed Milewski: Yeah, let’s do this, okay.
Bill Kerr: Go ahead.
Ed Milewski: No, go ahead.
Bill Kerr: Okay. The point of the slides is up to now, people look at Argo and obviously the flagship is the Woco. But hopefully I’ll present that it’s certainly much more than the Woco. We think there’s a camp potential, here.
So this is –
Ed Milewski: And you’ve got enough land, here.
Bill Kerr: Oh yeah, we’ve got lots of land, and the critical thing is, we control the southern extension of the Uchi Lake Uchi Break. So if we look at the – this is a total field air mag map here, and I’m not going to bother you with technical things –
Ed Milewski: Yeah, the different colours indicate more magnetic.
Bill Kerr: More magnetic, and the reds are highly magnetic. And you see that line coming down just east of the Woco and down to the Northgate, well, that’s the projected Uchi Lake break, and that’s the controlling factor for the mines to the north, and you can see it warps around, and the Woco and the Northgate are pretty well about 300 metres to the west of it. And we feel that they’re both, you know, something is popping out mineralization there. And the reason it doesn’t extend further to the southwest is, no one’s done any work on it. So we think it actually goes down further.
Ed Milewski: Okay.
Bill Kerr: This is, when people look at the Uchi Mine, because we’re saying we’re tied to the Uchi Mine, and that’s our model. And if you look at the bottom, here, it says total production, 750,000 tonnes; 114,000 ounces at a grade of 0.15. You’re going to say – so what, ounce per tonne, that’s not very good.
So the reason –
Ed Milewski: That’s like 5 grams.
Bill Kerr: Yeah. I’m a gold guy, so –
Ed Milewski: No, no, no, I’m trying, you know, I don’t even know the difference between a kilometre and a mile.
Bill Kerr: [Laughter] No, you’re right. So anyway, if you got to the top, the top line here, number one ore shoot, this is what they went underground on; that’s 340 long by 28 feet, that’s nine metres by 0.31 ounces a tonne. So the question is, how come when you have this type of deposit, and you only recovered .15, what went wrong? And there’s articles in the literature about the fact that they bulk mined it, and this is a longitudinal section of the mine, and to show, just to explain what happened, I have to go back to the how Hasaga Mine in Red Lake, which was the first bulk mined gold mines done in Canada. They were in granites, I think. And I should know, because I actually drilled them in ’95 for the Federal government testing Crown Pillars, and there’s some monster stopes. I think one of the stopes was 30 metres long.
And they were mined by a fellow called Jack Hamill, and he made a lot of money; people didn’t think he would do it. So once they were successfully, you know, completed mining it in the 20s, the next property he went on was the Uchi. And he did the same thing because he made his name for it, he’s very famous, and he bulk-mined the Uchi and took this 0.31, you know – this is all that’s left. We know this is the zone on surface here, we know it’s plunging to the south, but we’re assuming it’s gone down here.
Just for purposes of argument, I just this morning while I was waiting, I was looking for, if you took that, the tonnage here, 340 feet x 28 feet wide at 0.31 and you went down – the sort of standard rule in gold deposits is, they go down 10 times the width on surface. So one might say that if this is 100 metres on surface, you can expect it to go down a kilometre; that’s what Canadian gold archean deposits normally do.
Ed Milewski: Okay.
Bill Kerr: So I went down 100 metres, and I just went 100 metres across, 100 metres down, that at 0.31 is 75,000 ounces of gold. So something has gone wrong, here, with the mining. And the last thing I’m going to say about this just to prove that this doesn’t happen here, because I worked at Campbell Red Lake Mine. I was resident geologist there from ’80 to ’87, then I got transferred to a bigger office in Timmins. But right in ’87, about two months after I left, at the time just Campbell was the highest grade mine in Canada; it was 0.62. Every year it was 0.62, 0.62. Produced somewhere around 200,000 ounces a year. Very steady, it was all cut and fill and shrinkage, and high cost mining, but they had it there and the reserve always stayed the same.
And when the merger happened, just after I left, actually it was a takeover by Plaster Development, they have two beautiful deposits in Papua, New Guinea, Porgera and Muzima, and they didn’t have any money. So they ramped up production from Campbell and Dome, where it was then; they turned Dome into a open pit, and they turned Campbell into a long hole mine. And over the years while I was in Timmins, you know, I’m still fond for the Campbell; I would check on what the production was, and the reserve was grossly dropping. It just went right down. In about six or seven years, I can’t remember now, it went down to, like, 0.3. And then the 0.2s.
So I called a shift boss friend of mine who had just retired, and I says, I can’t make the numbers work. I mean, just because long holing, they’re losing a whole pile of ounces. And what he told me then, he says, Campbell, you know, you mine up; he says, they’d go up to a new level and they’d start sloping across, and they’d see something in the hanging wall or the foot wall, and they’d take it out.
And Campbell was a very good mine. It had these high-grade rods of like percentage gold, and because they were so small, they couldn’t drill to find them. But they just hit them. And as they’d go across, they’d see one, they’d slash it out. And what he told me was, 35 or 40 percent of the ounces were in those rods. They were never on the books; you couldn’t drill them. But when you long-holed them, when you bulk mine them, you lost them. You left them in the walls.
Ed Milewski: Right.
Bill Kerr: So they turned Campbell into a low-grade mine, and eventually got bought by its partner, Dickinson. So this just isn’t an Uchi thing, this is a, you know, high grade gold mines need the right mining method. And if you get greedy…and it worked, I mean, from a shareholder perspective, they got Campbell up to 350,000 ounces a year, put Porgera and Muzima into production. And so going back to Uchi, I think that’s the same thing here: they got a little bit greedy and turned this high-grade, 0.31 ounce into a 0.15 ounce.
And so our point is, we’re looking, this is our model, this is our target, these type of things.
Ed Milewski: Sure, okay.
Bill Kerr: And just one more thing before I forget: the party wall, the boundary north of Woco, all of the deposits north of here are, there’s 60 percent outcrop. They’re all outcrop. And it’s very easy to find veins, to – when you’re south of our thing, it turns into a bog. So this is geophysically –
Ed Milewski: How deep would that bog be?
Bill Kerr: Probably 20 metres or so. It’s not giant, but it’s big enough that there’s no trenches down here. I did find one trench right on our plane line –
Ed Milewski: But the bog doesn’t stop you from drilling it.
Bill Kerr: No, but what it does, it means that we can drill it, but you don’t want to go prospecting with a drill, because that’s expensive. We know geophysics will help us a bit; we’re considering geochemistry this summer to try to get a target, there. We are drilling two holes here on the, just east of the Woco there’s a little bit of a notch in the Uchi Break, and that, we think, is a pretty good target. Well actually, it’s on the map. Those two little stars.
Ed Milewski: Okay.
Bill Kerr: But that’s not really prospecting a drill. You know, we know where it is, but you know, it would be good to get one other thing of information, one other type of information. But that’s it, so the whole point of this is, it’s not just Woco. Woco’s great, it’s, you know, 2 or 3 ounces over a couple of metres in places, and we’re checking, we’re going to drill down, plunge that, down dip, we’re going to try to expand it.
But for me, the grading in this whole thing is this Uchi Break, because we know it goes at least as far as Northgate. It probably goes further. And that is the camp-style potential here. And the only reason no one’s done any work here since ’37, and the reason is this bog. And it’s not a killer bog, it’s just –
Ed Milewski: Sure. Makes it a little more difficult.
Bill Kerr: Yeah. Yeah, you gotta think a bit, and it’s always a second generation, okay. If we want to drill that, we really should do some geophysics, or do some geochemistry, or some other method prior to drilling.
Ed Milewski: Right, right.
Bill Kerr: We’re getting our feet wet now with this first drill, drilling two holes. I’d love to drill a heck of a lot more holes on it, but we don’t have the right –
Ed Milewski: You can’t justify. And the rocks, here, I understand, are similar to the rocks that are at Great Bear.
Bill Kerr: It’s the same generation of rocks, yeah. It’s what the old guys called Cycle 2, which is the package in Red Lake, there’s like one, two, three. In the old days we used to say Cycle 1 was Campbell, Red Lake and Dickinson, and Madison, and things like that. This is Cycle 2. And so yes, we are in the Cycle 2 package, the same as Great Bear, and they have high-grade gold covered by overburden.
The thing is, there’s a reason we drill, and I used to be in uranium, and we say drill or die. You have to drill. You can’t intimate anything; you have to drill it, and you have to see it, and you have to do it. So that’s the point we’re at now.
Ed Milewski: Well, there you have it, folks. ARQ, Argo Gold. Bill Kerr’s heading out the property, what, tomorrow?
Bill Kerr: Tomorrow morning, yeah.
Ed Milewski: Tomorrow morning, and when you’re done drilling we’re going to have a stock that’s way through the roof.
Bill Kerr: I hope so.
Ed Milewski: That’s it.
Bill Kerr: Thank you.
Ed Milewski: So long.
Bill Kerr: Thank you very much.
Ed Milewski: Thank you.
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