While there is no doubt that conglomerate gold has been discovered in the Pilbara, the broader understanding of this style of gold mineralisation in the Pilbara remains incomplete and, therefore, any comparisons with the Witwatersrand (Wits) basin are premature, states SRK Consulting geologist Mike Cunningham.
Commenting on the furore surrounding the recent discoveries of conglomerate gold in the Pilbara region, in Western Australia, he notes that some of the excitement is understandable, as the discoveries represent “a new and exciting style of gold mineralisation in a hitherto underexplored part of the country traditionally known for its world-class iron endowment”.
This excitement started in July last year, when Canadian-listed miner Novo Resources discovered nuggetlike gold at the Purdey’s Reward prospect, a joint venture project with Australian miner Artemis Resources.
This initial discovery was seemingly further supported by Australian gold miner De Grey Mining discovering more nuggets at its Louden’s Patch licence, about 100 km east of Purdey’s Reward.
By November last year, more than 25 publicly listed companies and “legions” of small prospectors had flocked to the Pilbara looking for gold, according to a report by Reuters. The media organisation further noted that a record 1 896 gold prospecting licences were granted by the Western Australia Department of Mines in 2017.