Prior to commencing a Pre-Feasibility Study, the Company identified the requirement to grow the Resource further to ensure the initial 7 years mine life assumed in the Scoping Study is increased.
To achieve this the Company believes a blend of expansion drilling around known deposits as well greenfield exploration to test the vast, yet under explored Project area as the optimal strategy. The Company therefore outlined the most expansive exploration program for the 2021/22 season, including:
45,000 metre diamond drilling
The diamond drilling program will be the largest ever to be completed by the Company, with at least two diamond drill rigs active, covering both brownfield expansion drilling and greenfield exploration.
The brownfield program will initially target the Window Glass Hill Granite, which has excellent potential to contribute to additional Mineral Resource growth. With approximately three kilometres of prospective geology associated with shears and faults adjacent to, and striking through, the Window Glass Hill Granite, this area has been identified as a priority drill target. Brownfield drilling will also target the Isle Aux Morts deposit, following the success achieved in 2020, that included 18 metres at 11g/t Au from 7 metres and 20 metres at 5.1 g/t Au from 8 metres. The greenfield exploration drill program will be the largest ever undertaken by the Company. Thirty-three targets have been identified, all of which have been ranked by priority from one to five, as shown in Image 3. Diamond drilling will initially focus on Priority One through to Priority Three targets, with exploration success having the potential to materially change the size and scope of the exploration program during the season.
All known deposits at the Project are related to key shear zones, cross faults and granite intrusions, which become visible through the use of detailed magnetics. The Company completed a vast ground magnetic program during 2020, that clearly identified a number of previously unknown structures between the Big Pond and Window Glass Hill deposits. Following the success of this program, the Company expanded and accelerated its magnetics program through a two phase 30 metre spaced Heli Mag program covering approximately 80 kilometres of strike along the Cape Ray Shear, as shown in Image 4 below.
Phase One of this program, covering 40 kilometres of strike, was completed by mid-2021, and preliminary analysis has already identified a number of large previously unrecognized and untested structures. Three target areas are highlighted in Image 5 below and will be initially tested with power auger drilling prior to undertaking any diamond drilling.
The Cape Ray Shear has historically been poorly explored, in part due to approximately 90% of the ground having a low “till” cover (1-5 metres in thickness). The opportunity to explore under this shallow cover has been identified as a major opportunity in the future.
Following a successful trial of portable backpack drill rigs in the 2020 exploration season, Matador designed and built lightweight ATV-mounted winkie drills that enable drilling through up to 10 metres of transported glacial till material using an auger to sample the basal till layer, then switching to a diamond drill bit to collect a short (20 cm) core sample of in-situ basement rock at the bottom of the auger hole.
The Company will have five power auger rigs active through the 2021/2022 exploration season. The results of the power auger drill program combined with the high-resolution magnetics, will assist the Company in refining its diamond drilling targets.
Collection of these samples, together with understanding the pathfinder geochemistry signal, which includes up to 12 critical elements pathfinder element footprints, is a highly effective approach to exploring through shallow glacial till cover.
Gold Pathfinder Footprints Key to Unlocking Future Exploration Success
Understanding the pathfinder element footprints to hydrothermal gold mineralisation provides an extremely valuable tool when attempting to explore through shallow glacial till cover. High sensitivity geochemistry implemented for the first time at Cape Ray by Matador in 2020 has delivered a step-change in our understanding of detectable footprints associated with the gold mineralised systems.
This technique has also been instrumental in facilitating quantitative classification of alteration mineralogy, alteration intensity and host rock types under the glacial till cover. In turn we are confident we can now significantly improve our geological mapping and exploration targeting models in this otherwise challenging terrain.
The pathfinder geochemistry signal includes up to 12 critical elements. The all-important intermediate to distal mineralisation footprint extends up to 100 metres away from a significant gold intercept and comprises low level anomalism in Bi, Pb, W, Cu, Mo, As and Zn. This intermediate to distal footprint is considered the key to effectively (and efficiently) exploring through cover, as it provides a much larger footprint that can be detected with broad spaced basement geochemical sampling.
Historically, across the Cape Ray Gold Project, basement rocks have only been effectively sampled where they outcrop, or where they have been tested by expensive conventional targeted diamond drilling. Outside the 15 kilometre strike length containing the 837,000 ounce Cape Ray Gold Project Mineral Resources2 (between Big Pond and Isle aux Morts), there are only 20 drill holes across the remaining 105 kilometre strike length of the Project.
Most of the historic surface sampling across the Project has focused on near-surface soil and shallow till sampling, and selective outcrop rock chips. Unfortunately, near-surface soil and upper till sampling is only partially effective, potentially generating false positive and false negative signals derived from sample material that is often mechanically transported some distance from its point of origin, resulting in failure of the follow-up bedrock drill tests. Rock chip sampling, whist more spatially reliable, is severely limited by lack of outcrop, with less than 10% of the Project tenement holding having any outcrop at all. Historic sampling programs have also utilised assay methods that were unable to detect low level anomalies in the key gold pathfinder elements (bismuth, antimony, tellurium, molybdenum and tungsten).
Work completed by Matador during 2020 has confirmed that the optimal horizons for geochemical sampling are the base of till and the in-situ rock from just below the basement rock interface (typically between 0.5 – 5 metres below surface across the Project area). Multi-element geochemical anomalies derived from these two horizons are considered the most reliable predictors of proximity to hydrothermal gold mineralisation.
Following successful trialling of portable backpack drills in 2020, Matador, with our drill partner (Major’s Contracting Ltd) have custom built the first lightweight ATV-mounted Winkie Drill designed to drill through up to 10 metres of transported glacial till material using an auger to sample the basal till layer, then switch to a diamond drill bit to collect a short (20 cm) core sample of in-situ basement rock at the bottom of the auger hole. This could be equated to drilling short diamond tails on RC drill holes in covered terrain in Western Australia (although Winkie drilling is orders of magnitude quicker and cheaper).
Matador believes that conducting systematic gridded basement sampling across our high priority target areas will provide the best information for “seeing through” the shallow till cover, and will deliver effective basement pathfinder element and geology maps over these areas for the first time. These maps combined with structural interpretation of new detailed geophysics (30 metre spaced heli-magnetics planned for May 2021) will provide well constrained advanced targets for follow-up diamond drilling. We believe this will significantly reduce the diamond drilling discovery costs and speed up the time to potential new gold discoveries.
 Gold (Au), tellurium (Te), antimony (Sb), silver (Ag), sulphur (S), bismuth (Bi), lead (Pb), tungsten (W), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), arsenic (As) zinc (Zn)
 ASX announcement 6 May 2020 (Mineral Resource table appended below for reference)