Part of running a successful resource exploration company is working on complementary projects. Projects which mesh with one another so that the exploration resources, the drillers, the geos and the logistical support can be deployed efficiently. A big part of that is combining projects which have different drilling seasons.
When you look at a map, British Columbia’s Golden Triangle and the southeastern corner of the Yukon would appear to be at about the same latitude and likely to experience much the same sort of temperatures. But there is one big difference: snow.
Jim Pettit, CEO of Aben Resources (V.ABN), is pretty blunt. “The Golden Triangle is in coastal mountains. We get forty feet of snow,” he said. “It might be gone by the end of May.”
Which is why Aben’s 2019 drilling program will start with its 100% owned Justin property in the southeastern corner of the Yukon. It snows plenty at Justin but far less than in the Golden Triangle.
Aben’s efforts are focused on what the company calls the “Lost Ace” gold zone discovered in 2017.
“We’ll be going up there soon,” said Pettit. “We hope to start at the beginning of June. We’re planning a small program. About $1,3000,000. We want to drill 2000 meters of diamond drilling and hope to do around 20 RAB holes, all 50 meters deep as well.”
Aben’s property is right next door to Golden Predator’s (V.GPY) Three Aces project. Like Golden Predator, Aben believes that the “orogenic-style quartz-gold veins that bear a strong resemblance to and share similar geologic setting with Golden Predator’s adjacent 3-Aces Property is associated to the previously discovered intrusion related gold system called the POW ZONE that Aben found in a 2012 drill program. Previous exploration at Justin has successfully discovered this Intrusion related sheeted veins & vein breccias along with gold-bearing skarn mineralization. The new discovery at Lost Ace highlights the existence of a multi-phase hydrothermal intrusion-related system with the potential for overprinting mineralizing systems.”
In lay terms, “There is lots of coarse visible gold at the new Lost Ace Zone,” said Pettit. “And then there is the POW Zone skarn replacement style at surface and when we drilled there we hit on 10 of 19 holes. This had is a lot of potential for lower grade with good widths.”
What Aben has found so far is an orogenic vein system (Lost Ace) in close proximity to a younger intrusion-related system (POW Zone)that has come up through older rock. It suggests that there is a significant hydrothermal system that could result in higher grades within the younger bulk tonnage intrusion related system.
Drilling should start in early June and Pettit is hoping to see results towards the end of July.
As the relatively short Yukon program is ending the last of the forty feet of snow in the Golden Triangle should have melted off and Aben will be able to mobilize its program at its Forrest Kerr project. While the last of the snow is melting the company plans to run an airborne mag survey over its “Boundary Zone” in the middle of its property.
“We’re hitting gold near surface but it can be erratic,” said Pettit. “We need to look deeper. Once we have completed the mag work, we will do a higher resolution drone survey of the targets we identify.”
At Forrest Kerr, Aben is looking for the contours of a geological system. “We’re up there looking for the contact between lithologies,” said Pettit. “All of the resources are within 2 kilometers of that contact and the Forrest Kerr fault which gives the project its name.”
“We’re there because of the grade,” said Pettit. Last season, the first hole reported contained, “Highest-grade zone consists of 331.0 g/t (grams/tonne) gold (Au) (9.65 oz/t) over 1.0 metre (m) within broad zone averaging 38.7 g/t Au (1.12 oz/t) over 10.0m from 114.0-124.0m including 62.4 g/t Au over 6.0m
Additional high-grade zones in Hole FK18-10 include 22.0 g/t Au, 22.4 g/t silver (Ag) over 4.0m; 3.9 g/t Au, 4.0 g/t Ag over 13.0m; and 8.2 g/t Au, 1.4 g/t Ag over 6.0m”
“This year we will be putting boots on the ground,” said Pettit. “We want to do geochemistry on the entire Boundary zone initially and then we have 3 priority target locations prioritized. We think we are close.”
Pettit plans to have one drill turning but Aben is permitted for as many as needed. “This year we have the pad locations and we should be able to drill at least 5000 meters,” said Pettit. “We’re looking for deeper structures so we will be drilling deeper.”
“Where we are exploring and drilling is “crazy alive” geologically,” said Pettit. “We have rocks of all different ages and the geological activity has allowed the fluids in. The question is, where did it come from?”
Beginning at the end of July or early August, Aben is hoping to have results, and perhaps the beginning of the answer to “where did it come from?”, as the Forrest Kerr core is assayed and reported.
Meanwhile, Pettit has been on the conference trail. “I was down in Scottsdale Arizona for the Capital Investment Conference in April,” said Pettit. “I had twenty meetings in one day and all of the investors were looking for resource stories.”
“It’s choppy out there,” said Pettit. “All Trump’s fault. But the markets have definitely bottomed.”
For Aben, having two high-grade gold stories, with results imminent, the bottom of the junior resource market sets the stage for a significant increase in shareholder value.