Do You Know What Electrum Is?
Electrum is a naturally occuring alloy of gold and silver composed of essentially equal parts of the two metals. It's rather rare ... in fact of all the thousands of drill results I've reviewed over the past several years I don't think I've seen it referenced more than a couple of times. What's so exciting about electrum? It's indicative of an extremely high-grade gold desposit with a monster silver kicker.
And Great Panther Silver, the one junior explorer I've been bringing to the attention of this community for several years running, has found it.
This is a huge development. For all of you who have remained patient with Great Panther because you believed in the quality of their management and the incomparable quality of their ore bodies, your prospects for being rewarded for your patience have just grown substantially stronger. For those who have not yet discovered the stock, it remains priced well below my 2005 cost basis for no good fundamental reason at all.
The drilling is being conducted at 50 metre centres from the 390 metre level of the mine and has so far extended the known strike length of the Santa Margarita vein to more than 175 metres and the depth extent to at least 125 metres below the current mining on the 415 metre level. The shallower holes are providing information for imminent mine development and production, while all holes will provide valuable data for mine planning and resource estimation.
Highlights of the recent drilling include 20.42g/t Au and 24g/t Ag over 1.85 metres in hole EUG10-060, and two intercepts of 24.37g/t Au and 24g/t Ag over 1.5 metres and 20.13g/t Au and 23g/t Ag over 2.55 metres, in hole EUG10-061. The latter intercept is contained within a wider interval grading 7.08g/t Au and 9g/t Ag over 8.20 metres, only 6 metres from the first vein. It is not yet clear if this separate zone in hole EUG10-061 represents a new structure or a branch of the Santa Margarita structure. The 1:1 ratio of gold to silver indicates that the mineralization is present as electrum, a naturally-occurring gold-silver alloy with equal amounts of the two metals.
Drilling on section 250S, the southernmost section drilled to date and 200 metres south of holes EUG10-060 and EUG10-061, returned deep intersections on both the Santa Margarita and Veta Madre structures. Vertical drill hole EUG10-057 intersected the Santa Margarita structure and returned 2.15 metres grading 576g/t silver and 1.33g/t gold at a depth equivalent to the 590 metre level, making this the deepest silver-gold intersection to date in this part of the mine.
The Veta Madre structure, parallel to Santa Margarita, is often not as well mineralized when the latter is well mineralized. As such, drill hole EUG10-054, on section 250S, did not return any significant values in the Santa Margarita structure, but intersected 5.1 metres grading 287g/t silver and 1.23g/t gold in the Veta Madre at a depth equivalent to the 548 metre level. This represents the deepest mineralization on the Veta Madre to date. Together with several historic holes drilled close to section 220S to the north, this portion of the Veta Madre structure appears to host a sub-horizontal lens of economic mineralization that is still open to the south.
Development and partial exploitation by the former mine owners in this part of the mine only extended to the 475 level along some parts of the Veta Madre from 300S to 500S. As such, this level will provide future access to the deeper portions of the Santa Margarita and Veta Madre structures.
The recent drilling results are significant in that several new epithermal systems appear to be developing in the deepest parts of the multi-phase epithermal system known to exist at Guanajuato. The Santa Margarita structure varies from a quartz-dominant breccia with <1% pyrite to intensely altered, breccia/stockwork in a volcanic/intrusive host rock with 2-3% blotchy pyrite. The upper parts of the system are gold rich with electrum (for example EUG10-060 and 061) while deeper intersections are silver rich (for example EUG10-057).
While the two types of mineralization appear to correlate structurally, the geological characteristics of the deeper intercept are different than those of the Santa Margarita vein higher in the mine. In several holes on section 250S, a quartz porphyry is becoming more prevalent and, in the hole 057 intercept, clasts of the porphyry are caught up in the vein material. Quartz porphyries are common in many vein-type deposits world-wide and are generally considered by geologists to be a positive sign for gold and/or silver mineralization. This porphyry is known to be associated with silver-gold mineralization in the past-producing Sirena Mine to the south (owned by Fresnillo Plc.), and there is still approximately 250 metres of as-yet untested ground to the property boundary.
As such, the intercept in hole EUG10-057 may represent a separate mineralized pulse, and is open to the south and to depth but, until more information becomes available, it is still being considered as part of the Santa Margarita system.
"These recent results from the deep drilling program at Rayas are confirming our long-standing belief that the mineralizing system at Guanajuato has a lot of life left in it", stated Robert Archer, President & CEO. "The expansion of the gold-rich Santa Margarita vein will not only increase our resource base but should provide for consistent and higher gold production for the foreseeable future. The discovery of a new silver-gold zone near the 600 metre level is very exciting as it, in itself, opens up a whole new area of the mine. We have only tested 250 metres of strike length in the deep Rayas area to date, of a planned 600 metres. The Guanajuato Mine property covers 4,200 metres of strike length, and next year, we will be testing the depth extent of the historically rich Valenciana Mine."
The 12,000 metres of underground drilling in the Rayas area began in February 2010. Initial drilling on sections 100S and 150S also intersected the Santa Margarita structure at the 450 level down to the 540 level (see news release of June 6, 2010). Highlights from the recent drilling are listed in the table below, and longitudinal and cross section maps can be found on the Company's website at www.greatpanther.com.
[See press release for table of drill results, and look beck over results spanning the past several years. It's quite a track record.]
Development of new drill stations is ongoing along a hanging wall drift on the 390 level from 250S to 450S. While this work is being completed, the drill has been moved from the drill station at 250S to a station at 000S, where sections 050S and 000S are being drilled.