Novo Seeks Witwatersrand West
The Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa measures about 150 km by 200 km. Since the discovery of gold there in 1886 it has produced almost half the gold ever produced.
The Hamersley Basin in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia is about the same size. They have gold there, too.
Novo Resources (NVO-C) recently announced doing another deal with the famous Mark Creasy; this time on about 18,000 square km or 7,000 square miles. This was in addition to the 1,800 square km or 700 square miles already under a JV. Novo now controls about 19,800 square km of the Hamersley Basin or 7,700 square miles.
This was a few months after Quinton announced a deal with Newmont where Newmont bought about 35.7% of the company, some 17.7 million shares. To give you an idea of the impact of the latest Creasy deal, Newmont counts some 88.4 million ounces of gold in reserves over their 62,000 square km or 24,000 square mile projects. Novo has almost 30% as much land as the $12 billion Newmont. Newmont has 32,000 employees spread over seven countries. Novo doesn’t.
Novo just announced an earth shaking press release. The market didn’t get it. But I did and I’m going to tell you what it means. Basically Novo and Newmont are about to prove that Novo has discovered another Witwatersrand. The results will be out by June or so.
Quinton Hennigh and I first talked about his precipitation theory of gold deposition in October of 2008 as we drove up to Evolving Gold’s Rattlesnake project in Wyoming. Basically Quinton believes that in the age of the Witwatersrand Basin, some 2.8 billion years ago, salt water had the ability to absorb 1,000 to 10,000 times more gold than today. So any gold at surface would be in solution, not in physical form.
As the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) took place about 2.5 billion years ago, gold precipitated out in the presence of carbon created by cyanobacteria remains in the increased oxygen environment according to Quinton’s theory.
It’s hardly a far-fetched concept. We know Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) occurred when free iron dissolved in salt water formed thin layers of magnetite or hematite as oxygen built up in salt water. The BIF beds of Pilbara in Western Australia are home to some of the largest iron formations on earth with reserves for many hundreds of years supply.
Quinton believes the Hamersley Basin of WA is similar to the Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa. It has identical age rocks. We visited the project together in June of 2009. He hadn’t done the deal with Mark Creasy yet. It was all just a wild theory.
We took quads out into the field to where Quinton wanted to begin the drill program. Quinton took his rock hammer and busted off a piece of conglomerate and handed me a piece of carbon that used to be little tiny cyanobacteria. I became a believer.
(Click on image to enlarge)
I’ve visited hundreds of gold projects but in none of them was carbon from cyanobacteria a factor. We weren’t out there 15 minutes and he found carbon.
Quinton did the first deal with Mark. He did a bunch of drilling. The drilling showed exactly the same kind of conglomerate layers with the same gold grades you find in the Wits. When they did core drilling, the core showed the exact same buckshot pyrite found in the Wits.
(Click on images to enlarge)
Then he did the deal with Newmont. Then he did the 2nd deal with Mark Creasy. Now we need absolute proof that the Pilbara region, Hamersley Basin has gold similar to that of the Wits.
Quinton needed to correct one misassumption I’ve had for a couple of years now. I assumed that when the gold precipitated out, it came out of solution evenly and would be spread throughout the basin. I got that dead wrong. Even the Wits doesn’t have gold everywhere. The gold in the Wits is found in embayments such as estuaries. Where you had areas scoured by waves in the Wits, you don’t find gold. I’ll put a map below. Only the blue areas on the edge of the basin contain the gold. Those tiny 9 regions produced billions of ounces of gold.
So my theory of just leaping out into the middle of the basin and punching a hole down to see what you can find got tossed into a cocked hat.
Napoleon said that he would far rather have lucky generals than skillful generals because you can often beat skill but you can never beat luck. As luck would have it, Novo’s deal with a major was with Newmont. Newmont invented a gold prospecting tool called BLEG over 20 years ago. They are the experts. BLEG stands for Bulk Leach Extractable Gold.
After Quinton did the 2nd deal with Mark Creasy, he sat down with Newmont to figure out how they could test the entire concession at a low cost quickly. Newmont is the expert on BLEG and they have put together a 10-man crew that will test all of the ground in the latest Creasy concessions for $800,000. The process should be complete by the end of June and depending on how long it takes to have assays done, results should be out shortly thereafter.
Here’s where things get interesting especially given that the gold in the Wits is found on the edge of the basin. The Creasy concessions are on the edge of the Hamersley Basin. If gold is found in multiple areas of the basin, hundreds of kilometers from where Novo is working now, Newmont and Novo have their proof of concept.
Here is the map.
If you look at the dark red tenements shown in the map, there is a distance between the most easterly and most westerly of just over 470 km. If you find gold that far apart, it isn’t a paleo placer and it damned sure isn’t an epithermal deposit. There isn’t a project on earth that big in either of those two categories. That will be the 100% proof of Quinton’s precipitation theory. When you start trying to figure out the potential in ounces then, things will get interesting.
Quinton obviously believes in the theory. Newmont does as well. Mark Creasy is on board and so am I. But it’s nothing but a lovely theory until it’s proven.
Look for that in June or July and with any luck, they may start finding nice gold juicy pieces soon.
I have believed since June of 2009 that Quinton and this project has the potential to be the biggest gold project in history owned by one company. We will see very soon.
Obviously I am biased. I own a lot of shares and Novo is an advertiser. Feel free to do your own due diligence but as always, you are responsible for your own investment decisions.