Perth-based Triton Gold (ASX: TON) has a bright future with a highly prospective portfolio of short to medium and long-term gold projects in southern Western Australia and eastern Alaska.
The company hopes to use its short to medium-term projects to create early cashflow and help fund development of the large, longer-term projects.
Early indications are that the Windarra Tailings project could be in production by the end of 2010, giving Triton the impetus to advance the larger Salmon Gums project as well as the Tushtena project in Alaska.
Salmon Gums and Tushtena represent excellent prospects and are both in proximity to major gold operations or deposits.
To help Triton Gold advance along the path towards production, the company has appointed Lance Govey as chief executive officer.
Lance Govey has joined Triton after an eight year stint as a Board member at Red 5 Limited, where he helped advance the Siana Gold Project in the Philippines from the very start to a fully-permitted, production-ready site.
Triton has been in existence since 2006 but listed as Triton Gold in August 2009, raising $6.5 million. Prior to this it was a private company formed by a group of mainly ex-Placer geologists, after the Barrick takeover of Placer Dome.
Lance Govey told The ASIA Miner the group includes high-level geologists such as Greg Hall, who was chief geologist worldwide for Placer Dome Group and operated in various locations around the world. “He is well respected throughout the Australian minerals industry and in a number of other countries, particularly Canada, US, South Africa, Tanzania and China. He worked for Placer for 18 years in exploration, project generation, business development and research projects.
“Greg and I have known each other for over 35 years and worked together in the former CSR Minerals Division in Sydney. We both went through the same university and followed a similar path in career development at CSR through to about 1988.
“Following the discovery of the Granny Smith deposit near Laverton, the minerals division was taken over by Placer. Greg stayed with Placer and I went on a separate path. I joined Aztec Mining which was later taken over by Normandy Mining where I stayed until the end of 2000. A year later I was appointed to the Board of Red 5 where I remained for eight years, first as exploration director and then as technical director, before taking up this role.
“The main reason for seeking a new role was that I had satisfied my main ambitions at Red 5, with financing almost completely in place and contracts for construction and mining at Siana now being let. It was time to take on a new challenge, which Triton represents, starting with a relatively undeveloped set of projects but including a couple of areas which have potential for near-term cashflow.”
Unlike the situation for many newly-listed companies, the Windarra Tailings project provides near-term production potential. Lance Govey says, “We are undertaking metallurgy on the tailings to ascertain gold recovery options.
“It is in an old Western Mining Corporation nickel area but the gold tailings were transported there from further afield.” Triton drilling indicates that about 113,000 ounces of gold were deposited into the tailings dam.
Triton acquired the gold rights to Windarra from Poseidon Nickel. The agreement includes acquisition of the tailings dam and first right to negotiate for gold rights in future tenement acquisitions made by Poseidon Nickel over a five year period.
Windarra is the site of the original Poseidon Nickel discovery in 1969. As a result, the area has largely been explored for nickel only, with very little gold exploration, despite the district being host to significant gold deposits such as Lancefield, Granny Smith, Wallaby and Sunrise Dam.
Lance Govey says, “There are thousands of holes for nickel exploration but very few of them were ever assayed for gold. Preliminary gold exploration here is another of our tasks for this year.”
He says assuming things go reasonably well with the metallurgy at Windarra, it could be in production by the end of 2010. He says there is another underground gold mining prospect in WA that Triton is looking at with short to medium-term production and cashflow possibilities.
The largest exploration play the company has, which was also the premise for going to float, is a large ground holding called Salmon Gums in the Albany-Fraser Province, which is host to the AngloGold Ashanti-Independence Tropicana deposits now totalling around 5 million ounces.
Salmon Gums is geologically similar to Tropicana but with a bigger surface soil gold expression. Triton has around 2000 sqkm under title.
“There has been a large amount of surface soil sampling which turned up some large areas of anomalous gold. We have done a considerable amount of aircore drilling to follow-up the anomalies and have had some success in defining gold deeper in the weathering profile and at the top of the bedrock.
“We have been busy since then completing five initial diamond drill holes and about 22 RC holes to look deeper into the bedrock, trying to define where the source is for the shallow gold anomalies. Results are expected in about a month.
“Salmon Gums took in a large enough area to cover a lot of possibilities for discovery of a significant gold district, certainly as big, if not bigger, than the original area around Tropicana.
“It is on the western boundary of where the main Eastern Goldfields structures intersect the Albany-Fraser Province, along the Mount Ida fault which runs down the western side of the main Kalgoorlie and Norseman goldfields. Tropicana is on a fault that runs down the eastern side of this province - a fair distance away but in a similar geological location.
“At Salmon Gums there is an alliance agreement with Teck Australia whereby they have an option on which they will have to make a decision in about two months. They need to decide whether they wish to fund and manage further exploration.
“Teck was an early partner there and supported Triton (then Australian Mineral Fields) in pegging the ground, thus creating an opportunity for them to come in at a later stage on the basis that there were results worth following up.”
Triton has other prospects to the north-east of Salmon Gums. One is Fraser Range North where it is drilling to follow-up surface soil anomalies. Further to the north is Cundeelee, another analogous geological situation where the company has not yet done any work.
To the east of Leonora and west of Windarra Triton operates the Sunday Project, in a joint venture with Hannan’s Reward. There was an early RC hole that intersected
1 metre @ 78 grams/tonne gold in a narrow vein situation. Lance Govey says, “We have done some subsequent follow-up drilling but no strong grades have come out of it and the project is in a holding pattern pending decisions on further targeting.
“We also have the Tushtena Gold Project in Alaska, to the north-east of Anchorage, towards Fairbanks in the Tintina Gold Belt. It is in a significant gold district that includes the large Fort Knox and Pogo gold deposits among others.
“Tushtena is a joint venture with an Alaskan firm and we are negotiating a deal with a third party to come in and fund drilling of five holes commencing in July this year. One of our senior geologists, Emma Gofton, is a Canadian who knows the North American scene well and has contacts with drilling companies and helicopter crews in the area. Emma, with the support of our team, will manage the program.
“It’s quite an exciting project. There’s been some very high grade gold in rock chip surface geochemistry completed in 2008 and 2009 and high-grade gold was identified in re-sampling of one or two of the historic drill holes that also intersected high-grade gold.
“It is exciting times for Triton. If we hit some early success with a couple of these projects we should be well on our way to an interesting future.”
For more information visit www.tritongold.com.au or phone +61 8 9215 4222