Gold Exploration in the Ring of Fire

By Matt Deller, Senior Geologist

The Ring of Fire is known for its abundant and varied mineral deposits. Over the years, significant nickel, copper, platinum, palladium, chromite, copper and zinc have all been discovered there.

But, it’s a little-known gold discovery from 2012 that currently has the attention of the Noront exploration team.

Collecting a soil sample using an auger

The Triple J occurrence is a gold-filled shear zone identified while we were drilling nearby at the Blackbird chromite deposit. Exploring for gold in the Ring of Fire is not without its challenges. A lack of exposed bedrock makes it difficult for prospectors and geologists to explore. And targeting new deposits is typically only possible with detection methods that can identify conductive metal or magnetic rocks such as  geophysical surveys. Gold, unfortunately, doesn’t occur in these forms, so a different exploration method is needed.

Our summer program focused on collecting clay samples from organic material, which makes up the base of vast swamps and bogs in the area. Samples are 0.2 to 5 meters below the surface and they require a special auger (a tool that digs bore holes) to collect. Trace amounts of gold are trapped and concentrated in the clay and they can only be detected using specialized analytical methods.

Our initial survey sampled clay above the Triple J occurrence and was then extended by 14 km along strike, to include the Webequie Shear Zone and structures crosscutting the Thunderbird intrusion. The objective is to identify areas along the prospective structures for follow-up soil sampling, trenching and diamond drilling.

Samples taken this summer are currently being dried and analyzed so our geologists can zero in on the most promising areas for further exploration.