Commodities, Features, Gold, Lithium

Dart on target in Victorian mineral hunt


Advancing its Granite Flat, Buckland and Dorchap exploration projects, Dart Mining’s pursuit of production is well positioned heading into 2022. 

Dart Mining has one of the largest tenement footprints in Victoria, with a diverse exploration portfolio spanning orogenic gold, strategic and technology metals such as lithium and tantalum, and porphyry base metals such as copper and zinc.

Across 6000 square kilometres, Dart has several projects at different stages of development, including its Granite Flat copper-gold project near the town of Mitta Mitta, its Buckland gold project in the Buckland Valley and its Dorchap lithium project in the Dorchap Range.

Dart general manager and chairman James Chirnside has high hopes for the Granite Flat project, which continues to undergo exploration.

“The Granite Flat copper-gold porphyry project is the focus of our efforts. We did some RAB (rotary air blast) drilling there towards the end of last year, we’ve done some more RC (reverse circulation) drilling and we’re using our own in-house diamond drill rig as we speak,” Chirnside explains during the 2021 NWR Resources Series.

“We are convinced that we are dealing with a porphyry-style deposit. There’s lot of hard evidence of that. The only thing that will prove it ultimately is some deep drilling – the deepest we’ve been to on Granite Flat to date was an RC hole recently completed to 184-odd metres.”

Completed in November 2020, Dart’s RAB drilling at Granite Flat saw 33 of the 42 holes record intersections of significant mineralisation, with seven of them mineralised throughout.

A 19-metre intercept attracted 9.39 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold, including three metres at 41.1g/t. This was taken from a 28-metre drill hole (EMPRAB28).

EMPRAB28 also drew encouraging copper results, led by a nine-metre intercept of 0.61 per cent copper, including three metres at 1.52 per cent copper.

“Albeit fairly low-grade copper and in some parts fairly low-grade gold too, but we’re seeing very big metres (from Granite Flat). So that’s all pointing from our perspective to a bulk-tonnage type discovery, and we’ve got a lot more work to do on it,” Chirnside says.

Dart is working through a 3500-metre RC drilling program at Granite Flat. Chirnside says Dart is making good progress on this program, with 400 metres of an initial 1000-metre diamond drilling program having been completed using its in-house drill rig.

The company has completed approximately 7500 soil samples at its Buckland gold project, identifying disseminated gold along a 17.5-kilometre strike.

There are instances of thick mineralisation up to 180 metres below the surface, with the shear-hosted, orogenic gold system bearing similarities with Bendigo and Fosterville gold mineralisation.

“The scale of Buckland, again low grade, but the potential tonnage there is fantastic. Our model has worked for us very well and we’ll be getting back to Buckland in early 2022 after we’ve done a bit more work at Granite Flat.”

Dart has a diverse exploration portfolio spread across north and north-east Victoria.

Dart is taking the plunge into lithium at its Dorchap project, also boasting the potential for other technology metals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and caesium.

Initially emerging with pegmatite hits in 2016, Dart put the project on pause due to the lithium price crunch, a contrast to today’s strengthening market environment. Dart believes there are about 3000 pegmatites at Dorchap.

“Dart was the first company to discover lithium pegmatites in any quantity on the east coast of Australia in 2016. We did quite a lot of work on it in 2017 and 2018. We completed various aerial surveys, rock chip sampling etc,” Chirnside says.

“We parked the lithium prospects for a time when the lithium carbonate price collapsed. About six months ago, we resumed work on our lithium prospects.

“We have had some very good hits particularly in tantalum (at Dorchap); we’ve had some great hits up to about 1.62 per cent lithium oxide on a couple of these dykes.

“This year, we completed a LiDAR survey of the area which has uncovered a lot more lithium pegmatites, as well as tracks, unused drill pads and more.”

Chirnside says LiDAR surveying at the Eagle spodumene dyke extended its potential by approximately 300 metres, culminating in up to 500-600 metres at this deposit.

Looking to 2022, Dart will return to Buckland to complete further RC drilling and geophysical surveying, buoyed by the results from its Granite Flat geophysical surveying from early 2021.

Continued work will take place at the Dorchap lithium project, with further RC drilling, mapping and sampling take place.

To accommodate its continued exploration, Dart recognises the need for additional capital with further raising forecast at some point in the future.

Notwithstanding, Chirnside says Dart has never been busier on the ground than in the past 12 months.

With a valuable board addition in Carl Swensson, who was chief of exploration at Normandy Mining for over a decade, and with the prospects of its Granite Flat, Buckland and Dorchap projects, among others, the company is well placed to attract further investor interest in 2022.

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