GoldInvest Interview with John Barry on Spur Zinc Project
Björn Junker: Pasinex Resources John Barry, Vice President of Exploration by Pasinex. Welcome, John!
John Barry: Good morning.
Björn Junker: John, tell me a little bit about Spur and what you’re looking for there.
John Barry: Okay. So as you know, Pasinex is mining a very high-grade zinc deposit in Turkey. We call it a carbonate replacement system. It’s very high grade, so basically it’s in limestones. So when we came across this project in Nevada, we said, “Well, this could be something very similar to what we see in Turkey,” and we were also very interested in what was happening with Arizona Mining’s Taylor Deposit as well.
So we looked at the oxides and we said, “Well, it didn’t come from nowhere and maybe we can chase it down deeper and we can find sulfides.” So it’s in a very interesting place. As you know, Nevada’s a silver state. Its gold, huge amount of gold production, we’re just across the valley from the Bald Mountain, Kinross’ Bald Mountain gold deposit.
So it’s not zinc country and when people discover zinc, they don’t know what to do with it. And, well, Western Mining discovered it in 1990, scratched their heads and went away from it. But for us, it’s very interesting. So we started off when we did a small program. Remember, this was done by RC drilling, so you only get small, little chips up.
It’s very hard to understand what’s going on when you’re looking at these little chips. But gold drillers, people drilling for gold love to do that because they can drill lots of cheap drilling and so on. So we decided we take a much more scientific approach. We did incline drilling and we oriented the core. And now, we have a much better understanding of what’s going on.
We’ve verified the really high-grade zinc and the oxides but the big story here is we’ve made a discovery of the sulfide zinc in black shales which was a real turn up for the books.
Björn Junker: So why? Why is that discovery of zinc sulfide in some of these black shales so important?
John Barry: Well, SEDEX…These are SEDEX deposits. We wouldn’t expect to find them here. And SEDEX deposits, I mean the Irish-style zinc deposits that we have here in Ireland are considered to be part of that, subset of that group. They’re the biggest producers of zinc, those deposits, the biggest producers of zinc in the world.
So for instance, the Red Dog deposit in Alaska, huge SEDEX deposit and then also the Howard’s Pass Selwyn Basin deposits in Canada. So these tend to be within a particular type of rock unit, a black shale, and they form in basins at the sea floor interface. So they tend to be much more continuous and they’re strata-bound. So in some ways, they are easier deposits to explore and they have the potential to be very big.
So we follow the black shale. We need to follow that black shale now and we need to see where it vectors us towards. Maybe it will vector us back into the hydrothermal vents that have formed these deposits. So we can have a big basin or a small basin, we can have a big mineralizing system or a small mineralizing system, or hopefully, we can have a big mineralizing system and a big basin.
We don’t know. We’re just at the beginning.
Björn Junker: Okay. At least it sounds very interesting. So we talked about the oxides before. How do the carbonate-hosted zinc oxides relate to the sulfides in the black shales?
John Barry: Right. So we don’t know at this point. That’s the very simple answer. We’re finding our way along and the oxide, the high-grade oxides, similar to what we have in Turkey, are a target. I mean, we will be looking to try and expand that resource. We’ve got three to four kilometers of strike where we have hydrothermal activity.
We have silica coming through to the surface into the rocks and we’ve got copper mineralization as well in the overlying flat line strata. So we need to explore this systematically. So we’ll be looking to chase that but most importantly, we’ll be now looking to evaluate the shale and the extensions of the shale and that’s what we’ll be looking to do in the next phase of our exploration.
Björn Junker: So tell me about that next phase of the exploration. What have you planned there and what are your aims?
John Barry: Okay. So we started off with diamond drilling, oriented diamond drilling to try and understand the geology and get a better understanding of the geometry and the style of mineralization. It’s very expensive drilling to do that in Nevada. RC drilling is much cheaper. Now that we understand the framework of what we’re dealing with and what we’re trying to target, we plan to do RC drilling and probably, a fairly significant amount of RC drilling.
They use feet in Nevada instead of meters. So looking at maybe 15,000, 16,000 feet of drilling, 4,000 or 5,000 meters of drilling and it’s shallow. That’s the really good thing. You can probably see from the press release that we’re not having to go very deep. The other thing I think is important here is that these rocks are not flat line that are hosting the sulfides, they’re up on end. They’re like a book that’s up on end rather than a flat book.
So we’ve got to chase it along strike and we’ve got to chase it down dip. So RC is the best, most efficient, cost effective way for us to find if we have the tail of a tiger or not. And we’re stepping out along strike and testing some other pockets of mineralization and other prospects along strike as well.
Björn Junker: And when you said it’s cost effective, still it costs money. What kind of budget are you thinking of there?
John Barry: Well, we’re looking at probably, for the drilling, we’re probably looking at a budget of about a half a million U.S. dollars, something in that kind of territory. We don’t want to go ahead and do a whole load of elaborate scientific work at this point. We mean, we’d like to do maybe airborne magnetics, gravity surveys and so on.
We’ve got relogging of all drill core now because things would have been missed by the guys before. They wouldn’t have recognized the significance of that black shale but we really want to quickly see if we can step out now and see how big this system might be.
Björn Junker: Exciting times there in Nevada.
John Barry: Geologists love this, you know.
Björn Junker: I guess so. But how does this tie in with…how does this fit with your project in Turkey?
John Barry: Right. Well, Turkey is at a very interesting stage right now because drilling at Akkaya is going on right as we speak. So the Pinargozu mine, the high grade Pinargozu mine. We’re following the marble host… It’s not really a marble, it’s a hydrothermally altered limestone. So we’re following that, we’ve got very good chemical signatures.
We understand the structure from lineament analysis. So we’re drilling those targets right now. That exploration is being paid for by cash flow from the mine. So that’s completely insulated from Spur in Nevada. We will be looking at ways, as we go forward, the most efficient way or effective way to fund exploration in Nevada.
Björn Junker: Thank you John for taking the time to give us some background on this new thing in Nevada. Good luck and we will be sure to follow up at a later time. Thanks.
John Barry: Thank you very much. Thank you, Bjorn. Bye.
Björn Junker: Bye.