South Australian miner identifies trace gold in tree leaves

Gum leaf samples show traces of manganese under a microscope. Image; CSIRO

Marmota Energy has identified trace gold elements in vegetation found near the Aurora Tank gold mine site in Goshawk in South Australia.

The company identified the elements (including manganese) in vegetation samples using biogeochemical sampling. Gum trees growing in the Goshawk region were found to have absorbed microscopic gold particles from their deep roots in areas of high-grade gold mineralisation, which then travelled upwards into the shoots and leaves.

Sampling leaves, shrubs and termite mounds for the trace elements can be beneficial for pinpointing gold exploration targets, according to Marmota.

Assay results collated from 329 leaf samples have identified multiple gold drill targets based on the gold content found in the leaves. ‘Pathfinder’ elements such as antimony and bismuth, which are associated with the presence of gold, were also found in the leaves.

“Gold can exhibit a nugget effect with respect to plant assays (as with other sample media) and have a limited anomaly footprint,” Marmota said in an ASX statement.

“For these reasons, a combination of gold and pathfinder elements is likely to represent a highly effective tool for [gold] exploration at Aurora Tank.”

The biogeochemical program commenced at Aurora Tank in December 2018 and builds on earlier research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

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