Schellgaden North & South is located within the upper Mur Valley, County of Lungau in the Federal State of Salzburg. The Schellgaden North Exploration Area consists of 36 overlapping freischurfe covering a contiguous area of 17.3km² (Figure 1).
Gold mining at Schellgaden dates back to pre-Roman times. Known gold mines, such as Stüblbau, date back to the 12th-13th Century and the smaller Schulterbau Mine is likely to be considerably older. Chroniclers described the presence of some 150 gold mines during the heyday of mining in the 16th Century. Accordingly, Schellgaden has been considered one of the richest and most active gold mining districts in Austria. Although frequently interrupted, mining activity continued until the first half of the 20th Century.
Although not adequately documented, gold grades of up to 3 ozs/ton have been reported from the Stüblbau Mine at Schellgaden North. Given that it contains a stoped out area of about 600 m in length and 60 m -100 m width, total production of 150,000 ozs – 160,000 ozs of gold had been estimated by the former operator (ECM) assuming historical ore grades of 10 – 15 g/t (0.3 ozs to 0.5 ozs Au/t). However, these estimates may be conservative given that unconfirmed ore grades of one to several ounces of gold per ton (a range of 30 to 120 g/t) have been variously reported. Combined with estimated production from the Schulterbau Mine, (15,000 ozs – 20,000 ozs), the known collective historic production from mines in the Schellgaden North Project area is estimated to be 180,000 ozs to 200,000 ozs. However, it is to be emphasized that this is based on known production, and is therefore also likely to be a conservative estimate of actual production for other reasons as well, as the drilling of DH Stb-1 highlighted.
Apart from the known mine survey undertaken by VOEST Alpine Steel in the 1980’s, which was designed to focus on scheelite occurrences within the old mines, little is known of exploration efforts in the area prior to the Canadian company, Argosy Mining Corp, acquiring the Schellgaden North tenement holdings in 1995 through its Salzburg based subsidiary (“AMG”).
In May-June 1995, AMG undertook systematic geochemical sampling of accessible stope faces in a number of historic mines in Schellgaden North & South. From a total of 133 channel samples, geochemical analyses, of gold and 34 other elements, provided the first modern evaluation of the Schellgaden ore bearing layers. Channel samples collected by AMG revealed average gold grades of 7,508 ppb to 10,012 ppb (7.5 – 10.0 g/t) for the Barbara Lager in the Stüblbau Mine and average grades of 8,352 (8.3 g/t) in the Schulterbau Mine. Peak grades of nearly 1 ozs/t (34,280 ppb) where recorded in the Knappenstube East Mine. In addition, AGM commissioned the first modern metallurgical studies on mineralised samples randomly chosen from several stopes inside the Stüblbau Mine. In 1995 AMG also drilled four diamond core holes (SCHG-1 to SCHG-4) to a depth of +100 m south of the Stüblbau mineralised bodies.
However, in its current form there is still insufficient detail, including verified historical data, to classify any of these mineralisation targets as Exploration Targets within the classification of the JORC Code (2012) as a resource, and as such the concept must be considered as a pure exploration risk.
The company’s primary “short-term” objectives earlier in 2018 are to delineate and upgrade potential mineralisation targets to the status of Exploration Target, within the context of the JORC Code (2012), as early as possible in order to begin drilling. This is planned to involve both surface and underground core drilling within the Stüblbau Mine perimeter following a 3-D Laser Survey, and conduct both appropriate geophysical and geochemical surveys across HRK’s.
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