Hope springs eternal, especially in the hearts of prospectors and geologists.
Scott Broughton, President and CEO of Santa Fe Metals Corp. (SFM) has been on the hunt for another Sullivan Mine type sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) deposit. His latest venture is drilling on the Sully project about 30 kilometres due east of Kimberley. A drill program commenced on the Sully property in 2014 and was not shut down for lack of findings, but for lack of money.
In early 2014 SFM’s Project Team defined twin parallel vertical masses, the EAST and WEST Targets at the Sully Project.
“We proved last year that these masses occurred at exactly the same geological time as the Sullivan Mine deposit,” Broughton said. “That’s what brings us back to this site.
“Unfortunately we ran out of money last year, but now we are getting traction again. There is interest in zinc especially.”
Broughton was showing some potential Chinese investors the project this week, and says that everything is in place to begin drilling by October at the latest.
What makes the project so compelling, Broughton says, is that science points to there being more than one massive SEDEX deposit in this basin.
“The Sullivan Basin itself is very large and it makes sense that where there was one, there’s another.”
Broughton explains that these deposits were once “black smokers” at the bottom of an ocean.
“You need a basin that’s shallow and quite —not a lot of other minerals drifting in. All these little grains of sulphides come up through the vent. The Sullivan Mine was one that occurred. You’d need them to be about 30 kilometres apart for another to occur.
“So many pieces of the puzzle overlap in one place.”
That place is the Sully Project.
One of the problems in finding another SEDEX deposit in this basin is that it really needs a massive drill program, which junior mining companies cannot do.
“A junior company can usually afford one or two holes that might be meaningful,” Broughton said. “But it doesn’t work that way. It’s such a compelling target, it needs millions to properly explore it.
“But we’re persisting. If we do drill some massive sulphides, we’ll have an unlimited amount of money to explore further.”
Broughton says that in the last drill program the last hole just missed intersecting the eastern target. The theory is that the drill hole did hit Sullivan time at the appropriate depth but that smaller faults at depth shifted the deposit, so the hole just missed.
“The most recent hole completed (SU14-09) is estimated to have passed within 100-m of the EAST mass based on down hole mag-field and temperature measurements,” a SFM press release says.”Management and the Sully Project Team believe that the geophysical masses are best explained by the presence of high- specific gravity, SEDEX-style, massive sulphides. The contrast between the specific gravity of typical Sullivan massive sulphides and the sedimentary country rock is particularly well suited to modern gravity techniques. Sully’s targets present a discovery opportunity based on their Sullivan-size geophysical anomalies and confirmed Sullivan-time geological setting.”
Planned exploration for 2015 and 2016 includes additional detailed gravity measurements followed by ongoing drill testing at the EAST and WEST targets. The overall program will be results-oriented and will evolve as new information is learned.
Attempts to raise funds to expand the program will be ongoing, hence the visit with Chinese investors this week.
“I still get all tingly just thinking about it,” Broughton said. “It’s so difficult to imagine all these puzzle pieces not becoming anything that’s not hugely significant in terms of its economics.
“But it comes with risk.”