George Merhi of Kairos Goes Full Circle at Egina
Over the past eighteen years and many hundreds of site visits I have met a lot of geos. It might by 800, might be 1200 but I have met a bunch of them. Few of my readers realize it but for a dozen years I delivered small aircraft built in the US to destinations all over the world. I did about 240 over ocean trips averaging 15-18 hours each flight.
Pilots are interesting people. When they are on the ground all they talk about is flying. When they are in the air, all they talk about is sex.
Geologists on the other hand, I wonder about. When they are in the field, all they talk about are rocks. When they are in a bar, all they talk about are rocks. I can only ponder on what they talk about when they are with their significant other in bed.
Quinton Hennigh and I went to Australia in June of 2009. Quinton wanted to meet with Mark Creasy to discuss a deal on some of Mark’s massive mining claims in the Pilbara. We met in Mark’s office for several hours and determined that what we really needed to do was go out to the field for a week and actually bang on some rocks.
We flew up to the Pilbara where we met with Mark’s head exploration geologist, George Merhi. He’s a character but he had our vehicle loaded with a couple of cases of very expensive wine pinched from Mark’s wine cellar so all was right with the world.
We roughed it in the field sleeping in tents and eating beans heated up in the can and sipping $1200 wine under the clearest skies I ever expect to see.
We came under attack only once in our campground near Marble Bar. That was when a bus filled with screaming 13 year-old-kids moved in for the night. Each was armed with a cellphone so they could talk with the kid two rows behind them in the bus. The first order of business when they moved in was to set up a table with electrical chargers for their phone. Things have changed a lot since I was young. When I was on a bus at the age of 13 and wanted to speak to someone, I just moved back two rows and managed to say something very stupid as a way of introduction. I am so glad being 13 only lasted for ten years.
It was an interesting trip. George Merhi is one of only two people in the world who have spent more time thinking about gold in the Pilbara than Quinton, Mark Creasy being the other.
These photos came from that trip nine years ago.
(Click on images to enlarge)
Who is the best dressed?
George Merhi supervising Quinton
George has a new tool for finding rocks
George Merhi found a rock
My rock is bigger than your rock
My rock is a whole lot bigger
Now that is a big one
Even my bear can find rocks in the Pilbara
Two weeks ago I was in Mark’s lair in Perth on Friday night. I had just done a seventeen-hour trip non-stop from London. While that may sound brutal, it beats the hell out of the two twelve-hour trips that it used to take. Mark breaks out a couple of bottles of wine on Friday night and has an open invitation to interesting people in Perth to stop by.
So Quinton and I snuck in. We were going to meet George there. In between working for Mark and now, George also supervised most of the exploration at Beaton’s Creek for Novo. Today George is working for Kairos Minerals supervising their exploration.
I should explain here that there are dozens of small juniors with ground pegged in the Pilbara and constantly doing deals like teenagers swapping baseball cards. I own some De Grey and Novo and sold some Artemis at a nice profit. But there are so many companies out there and it’s a big basin so it’s pretty hard to keep track of all of them.
Quinton and I were scheduled to fly up to Karratha on Sunday and then drive to Egina the next day after a flying visit to Purdy’s Reward and Comet Well. George offered to pick us up in his helicopter and show us the ground he was exploring on behalf of Kairos.
The visit to Egina was a total success on two fronts. We did manage to find a small gold component in the tailings from Carl’s mining at Egina. That suggests it might be possible to drill the conglomerates around Egina and get a grade for at least the fine gold. But the 2nd and even more interesting front was the presence of a lot of much larger gold in the alluvials than around Karratha.
Quinton and I finished our tour at Novo’s ground at Egina and George picked us up in his chopper. We flew over to Kairos’ ground just south of Novo’s property. Quinton and George talked about rocks even though clearly we are in a sort of airplane and we should have been talking about sex. We landed, pounded on some rocks and still they talked about rocks even though we should have been talking about airplanes.
George was taking stream sediment samples and panning them and came up with a large variation in the number of colors in a pan. Where he had strong indications of gold, he would go out with a metal detector to see if there was a correlation between the number of colors in a pan and the presence of nuggets.
If you go back to the original story about locating gold in the conglomerates at Karratha, Ed Mead of Artemis literally had to go metal detecting to find enough gold to make payroll. That’s when Johnathon Campbell was out herding cattle in his helicopter and landed to see what Mead was doing. Johnathon Campbell staked Comet Well and later did the deal with Novo.
Of the ten or so Pilbara Sisters, many have taken samples of the nuggets found at surface. None that I know of did any scientific study to determine potential grade or anything else. Some clearly are associated with vein system gold, not nuggets from the conglomerate.
People like to throw rocks at Quinton for a seeming lack of progress in measuring grade but none of the other Sisters have done anything to measure grade. To say you found nuggets at surface is about as close to utterly meaningless as anything I can think of but those companies don’t get criticized, only Novo.
At least George and Kairos are trying to do something meaningful with the nuggets. George is finding a correlation between colors of gold in nearby stream sediments and the presence of nuggets. Also they have measured how long it took to find the gold, how big the nugget patch was and what the total weight and number of nuggets was.
We landed and walked the ground where they found all the nuggets. They found 126 pieces of gold containing 10.8 ounces or 336.8 grams in 4-5 hours. All but nine pieces of the gold came out of a patch of ground measuring 50 meters by 40 meters.
George's nugget patch
There is a lot of gold in the Pilbara. Egina just adds one more question to the puzzle. Kairos has one of the most experienced geologists in Australia and the Pilbara exploring for them. The company has a tiny market cap now but as more news and information comes out perhaps the questions will eventually turn into answers.
I don’t own Kairos and they are not advertisers but they have a great exploration team and I expect big things out of them down the road.
Kairos Minerals Limited