Pretium leverages AI to drill bonanza gold
Taps 6,700 g/t gold at target generated by GoldSpot analysis Metal Tech News - October 28, 2021
Last updated 11/9/2021 at 4:41pm
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have provided Pretium Resources Inc. with a cutting-edge in discovering new high-grade gold deposits that could extend the life of its Brucejack Mine in British Columbia's famed Golden Triangle.
Before the start of a 2021 drill program seeking new high-grade gold deposits at Brucejack, Pretium employed the services of GoldSpot Discoveries Corp., a technology company that leverages the power of machine learning to help mineral exploration and mining companies pinpoint the best places to make new discoveries.
Home to the Valley of the Kings deposit, which hosts 11.5 million metric tons of reserves averaging 9.8 grams per metric ton (3.2 million ounces) gold, Pretium's Brucejack property is already renowned for the incredibly high-grade gold found there.
Even on a property like Brucejack, however, finding buried pockets of high-grade gold can be challenging. And, considering the time and expense of drilling a hole to check to see if the clues on the surface represent a buried deposit, mining companies like Pretium utilize whatever analytical tools they have at their disposal before deploying drills.
This drill targeting process traditionally involves sending geologists out to observe any clues that come to the surface, sampling the soil and rocks for geochemical evidence of an underlying deposit, and carrying out geophysical surveys that utilize electromagnetism and other sensing methods to provide a "picture" of the rocks that can not be seen at surface.
The final step before committing to investing $10,000 and often much more on a single drill hole is to analyze the piles of data generated from these geological, geochemical, geophysical, and other surveys to choose the best target to test.
To assist its geological team in crunching the piles of geo-data collected at Brucejack over the years, Pretium turned to the cutting-edge technology and geoscientific expertise offered by GoldSpot to prioritize targets across the 123,000-hectare (303,900 acres) Brucejack property.
A move into the digital age of mineral exploration that has proven to be a resounding success.
Pretium hit bonanza-grade gold at Golden Marmot, the first of the high-priority targets identified by GoldSpot's machine learning algorithms that were drilled this year.
Located about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) northwest of Valley of the Kings, Golden Marmot is a zone that was tested by drilling a decade ago but not with the spectacular results achieved after refining drill targets with GoldSpot's machine learning.
One hole drilled at Golden Marmot in 2011 cut 17.3 meters averaging 2.8 g/t gold over 17.3 meters, including a 1.3-meter subsection grading 23 g/t gold.
This intercept, however, pales in comparison to the 53.5 meters averaging 72.5 g/t gold, including 0.5 meters averaging an astounding 6,700 g/t gold and 3,990 g/t silver in hole SU-786 drilled this year at Golden Marmot.
Other highlights from the assay results from the first nine holes drilled this year include:
• 38 meters averaging 22.8 g/t gold, including 2.1 meters averaging 188.4 g/t gold in hole SU-772.
• 5.8 meters averaging 46.1 g/t gold, including one meter averaging 208 g/t gold in hole SU-778.
"These results continue to support our view that additional deposits and sources of high-grade mineralization will be identified near the Valley of the Kings deposit opening up the potential for a significantly longer mine life and continued impressive cash flow generation," said Pretium Resources President and CEO Jacques Perron.
So far, this year's drilling at Golden Marmot has cut high-grade gold mineralization over a zone that is roughly 150 meters wide, 250 meters long, and extends to a depth of 275 meters. And, considering that the mineralization encountered in the 2011 hole was 225 meters below the currently drilled zone, Golden Marmot is shaping up to be a major new discovery for Pretium.
"The Golden Marmot zone remains open and could be of similar size to the Valley of the Kings deposit," Perron said. "We are eagerly awaiting the assay results from the remaining 17 drill holes which we expect to release early next year."
GoldSpot's machine learning ranked Golden Marmot amongst the highest priority of 65 targets identified at Brucejack, adding to the mounting evidence that this trailblazing technology for mitigating exploration risks and increasing the efficiency and success rate of mineral exploration drilling.
"The results from Pretium's high-grade gold discovery are incredible and showcase the power of GoldSpot's innovative approach, combining traditional targeting and machine learning to identify high-priority targets," said GoldSpot Discoveries President Denis Laviolette. "We look forward to advancing our work with Pretium to expand the potential of the Brucejack property."
In addition to the targets it has already generated at Brucejack, GoldSpot has applied its machine learning technology to Pretium's Bowser property immediately to the south.
Pretium has carried out comprehensive regional exploration at Bowser, which is prospective for gold-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits similar to the famed Eskay Creek Mine project to the northwest, as well as high-grade epithermal gold systems more akin to Valley of the Kings.
The regional mapping, prospecting, geophysics, hyperspectral mapping, and more than 20,000 geochemical samples collected at Bowser provided GoldSpot's algorithms with a trove of data to process and prioritize even more targets for Pretium to test.
The analysis of the Bowser data was completed in August.
For this year, the gold mining company has plenty of targets to test along the 2.5-mile stretch of Brucejack bookended by the bonanza grade gold drilled at Golden Marmot toward the north end and Valley of the Kings to the south.
"Golden Marmot is only the first of several zones drill tested this year with results still to come from Gossan Hill, Bridge Zone and Hanging Glacier," said Perron. "All of these targets have the potential to deliver game-changing results and are within four kilometers of the Brucejack Mine infrastructure. We look forward to continuing to grow the potential of this exceptional property and will release results as they become available."