Prime Meridians – The Global Gold Hunt Takes An Unexpected Turn

This week in Pierce Points:

China busted up its energy sector. Officials said they will open state oil ventures to private investors. Starting with offshore

The UK gave away its oil data. The government is opening North Sea information to the public, and offering prizes for leads.

China took control of the silver price. China Construction Bank has become the first mainland player setting the London fix.

India’s goldsmiths made a daring proposal. Jewellers may stop selling bullion in order to avert a week-old strike.  

A bankruptcy court let E&Ps off the hook. A key judgement could encourage more drillers to go bankrupt, to escape contract obligations.

The Global Gold Hunt Takes An Unexpected Turn

What a week.

Things got started with an unexpected turn last weekend here at Pierce Points. After my overview on new silver projects in Myanmar generated an overwhelming response from all of you.

First off, thanks to everyone who took the time to write in. The thoughts, feedback, and observations on the geology and exploration potential are a vivid reminder of the value this exceptional group brings to the natural resources business.

The unexpected part is that, amongst all of the comments, have come a number of very promising leads on joint venture partners for these projects. With some very big names in the base metals industry. Thank you again to those who facilitated these intros.

I’ll be back in Myanmar to follow up at the end of the month. But until then, it’s tempting to wonder — what’s next?

After all, it’s an exciting time right now. With gold having been a particular standout of late, after prices once again approached $1,300 per ounce.

That’s breathed life into the exploration and development sector. It’s been great to see a number of good companies and projects getting funding on the back of this market rise.

Looking at the trading this week, I think we might be due for an interim correction. But even a pullback to $1,200 or $1,100 would still leave a general upward trend in the gold space well intact.

And that means it’s a good time to be thinking about new gold projects.

Given the success of last week’s exploration overview, I thought I would share a new ideas on that front — in a completely different part of the world.

The thought came to me from a small news item that popped up in my inbox this week. Discussing how Japan’s Sumitomo is looking at joint-venturing gold mining prospects in Australia.

The article mentioned a fact I’d forgotten — that Sumitomo is the owner of the only currently-operating gold mine in Japan. And it’s a doozy: the Hishikari mine, which has produced an estimated 7 million ounces at a phenomenal grade of 40 grams per tonne.

That’s one of the greatest gold deposits on the planet. In a place few explorationists think about. 

But when you look at the geology, it makes complete sense. 

Take a look at the map below. Showing the location of the mine, at the southern end of Japan on the island of Kyushu. As is obvious, this massive gold deposit occurs along the northeast-southwest trending volcanic arc that runs from Japan down to Taiwan (dashed white line). 

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But there’s another, more subtle tectonic feature here. That corresponds almost exactly to the location of the mine — the roughly north-south trending seafloor ridge traced by the black dotted line in the middle of the map.

If you look close, you’ll see that this structure meets Japan at almost the exact location of the Hishikari mine. To me, that screams out that this lineament is involved in the generation of the deposit — possibly being a locus of volcanic and/or hydrothermal activity, of the kind that generates ore deposits. 

Here’s the interesting part. When I started looking at this geologic feature, my first thought was to trace its extent. And when you do, it leads south — to the very eastern portions of Indonesia near the Papua New Guinea border. In a chunk of land known as the Bird’s Head Peninsula. 

The possibility of another 7 million, 40 g/t ounces here has continued to intrigue me this week. Especially given that an initial database scan shows very little exploration in this remote part of the world. 

As I’ve discussed in the past, this sort of structural analysis has been very successful for me in providing a “first screen” for exploration. In fact, similar worked is what brought me to some of the locations in Myanmar that I looked at last week — where more detailed, local-scale exploration has confirmed the potential. 

I think this could be another winner. So much so, I’ve been looking into logistics and possible leads for an initial site visit to the Bird’s Head over the coming months. 

If anyone has contacts for licenses or exploration work here, I’d love to hear from you. Simply put, there could be some truly world-class deposits lurking here — the perfect thing for a gold market that seems to be turning a corner. 

I’ll keep you updated as this work progresses. Thanks (and thanks in advance) for all the knowledge and support, and look forward to talking to you more next week. 

Here’s to a bird in the hand,

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Dave Forest

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