Empire Resources (ASX: ERL) is rapidly growing its recently acquired landholding in a well-endowed Western Australian gold province with a strategic move to more than double the size of its Point Kidman acreage.
Point Kidman is located in of the best gold endowed areas within the Yilgarn Craton - the Laverton gold belt.
The decision to apply for additional tenements to take its Point Kidman acreage to a total of 780 square kilometres follows new structural studies over the area after the recent discovery of abundant surface gold nuggets spread over a 2.5 kilometre long zone.
The company has applied for four new exploration licences covering about 310 square kilometres contiguous with Empire's six original exploration licences at Point Kidman.
This area is structurally favourable for hosting large gold deposits as evidenced by the association of surface nuggets with major fault structures.
The region is host to a number of world class gold deposits such as the 5.6 million ounce Sunrise Dam, 4.3 million ounce Granny Smith and 7.1 million ounce Wallaby mines.
The total gold produced to date from the Laverton region is in excess of 28 million ounces, which continues to grow with newly established mines such as Garden Well and Moolart Well to the north of Point Kidman.
The association of gold mineralisation with granite at Point Kidman shows strong similarities to Barrick Gold's (TSX: ABX, NYSE: ABX) operating Granny Smith gold mine 50 kilometres to the southwest, and the Golden Cities mine located north of Kalgoorlie.
David Sargeant, managing director, commented: "The acquisition of the four additional Point Kidman ELs further adds to Empire's significant suite of copper-gold and gold projects located throughout Western Australia including our advanced high grade Yuinmery copper-gold and Penny's Find gold projects.
"Our enlarged exploration footprint at Point Kidman, including the newly discovered 2.5 kilometre long nugget zone, overlies possible granite hosted gold mineralisation."
This is a style similar to the Laverton Belt's Granny Smith gold mine, a large gold deposit partially located within granite, 50 kilometres to the southwest of Point Kidman.
The surface nuggets were located on an extensional fault line where dolerite dykes have also been intruded and the pattern of faults closely matches the classic Reidal model used to predict favourable structural locations for finding gold deposits.
Sargeant said: "Importantly, the surface gold nuggets were both numerous and spread over a very large 2.5 kilometre long zone exhibiting extensive quartz vein swarms and stockworks hosted by leached and weathered granite - with many of the veins showing limonitegoethite staining after sulphides.
"In addition, extensive soil sampling undertaken by the tenement holders around the area of the nugget discoveries has outlined a number of other gold and supporting pathfinder metal anomalies in the immediate vicinity.
"Significantly, from Empire's point of view, this new gold zone is in an area where there are no historical gold workings or previous exploration drilling although the Laverton region is one of the best gold endowed areas within the Yilgarn Craton."
Empire has entered into an agreement to acquire a 70% interest in the Point Kidman project from two private companies through reimbursement of past expenditure, totalling about $125,000, and the issue of up to 3 million shares over the next two years.
Empire plans to complete a detailed aeromagnetic survey and structural study prior to drilling in 2013.
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