Mining and Exploration History
1906 - 1913
Historically, the Montague-Boulder mine was the most significant producer of gold in the Montague Range region. The prospect was discovered in 1904, during the gold rush era as a prominent gold-bearing quartz blow, outcropping amongst transported cover and colluvium. Between the years of 1906 – 1913, 7,075 tonnes of ore for 141.2kg of gold was produced.
Mineral exploration was carried out in the Montague Range area during the 1960s, with companies such as Anaconda Australia Inc. (1966 – 67), International Nickel Australia (1971 – 75) and CRA Exploration focused on the discovery of base metal deposits.
Renewed gold exploration commenced in the 1980s, eventually leading to the establishment of mining operations by Herald Resources Ltd (formerly Clackline Refractories Ltd) at the Montague Mine.
In 1984, a prospecting license was optioned to Clackline Refractories Ltd. by Mr W. Griffiths, covering both Caledonian and NE prospects. During the reporting period of 1986, Clackline Refractories Ltd. conducted two programs of reverse circulation and diamond drilling. In addition, two mining studies and Ore Reserve estimation exercises were undertaken, with the decision to initiate the development of two open pits on the Caledonian and Caledonian NE Zone (now referred to as the NE open pit). The prospecting license was thus surrendered for a mining lease and a milling facility was also constructed.
In 1986, CRA Exploration were exploring on PL57/219, containing the Montague-Boulder prospect. The prospect was tested by reverse circulation drilling (5 holes, MORC17-19, 24-25 for 135m). The results were encouraging, warranting further exploration. A substantial width of alteration and low-grade mineralization was identified. Until then, old workings in the prospect area comprised three shallow shafts and surface gouging. The target for CRA was a tourmaline-bearing quartz reef hosted by quartz-muscovite (after granitic) rocks, with a significant intersection of 2m @ 6.68g/t Au (MORC17).
In 1988, the project was purchased from CRA exploration by a subsidiary of Austwhim Resoures N.L. In partnership with Austwhim Resources N.L., Clackline Refractories Ltd. outlined a gold Mineral Resource at Montague-Boulder. An Indicated Resource was estimated at 391,000 t @ 3.3 g/t Au, and an application was made to conditionally surrender the surrounding prospecting leases into a mining lease4
The Whistler deposit was discovered by CRA Exploration Ltd utilising wide spaced rotary air blast drilling along strike from a geochemical anomaly over a minor gold occurrence in mafic rocks. By mid-1989, CRA had established a maiden gold resource at the Whistler project based on 80 drill holes.
A sales agreement was reached on the 9th May 1990 between CRA Exploration Pty Ltd. and Polaris Pacific N.L., regarding the mining leases over the Whistler deposit. Subsequently, a notice of intent to mine at the Whistler project was submitted to the DMP by Polaris Pacific N.L on the 31st May 1990.
Meanwhile, a total of three gold deposits – Caledonian, NE Pit and Montague-Boulder - had been mined in the area by Herald Resources Ltd. between 1988 – 1990 at the Montague Project, approximately two kilometres southwest of Whistler. All three deposits and occurrences are spatially related to the syn-tectonic Montague granodiorite pluton and NE to NNE trending structures discordant to the prevailing structural trend of the Gum Creek Greenstone Belt. The Montague-Boulder deposits consist of a quartz lode system hosted by a north-trending shear zone in basalt along the west boundary of the pluton. The Battery Zone of the deposit is hosted entirely internal to the granodiorite and is characterised by a complex network of NE and NW-trending quartz veins. The Caledonian NE deposit occurs at the intersection of NE trending and north trending quartz lodes in basalt just west of the granodiorite contact.
The final pit mined by Herald was Rosie Castle, which was completed in 1993.
Regionally, exploration was undertaken within the current Project area by a series of companies including Dalrymple Resources NL (1987-1990), who intersected gold at the Armada (Twister) prospect, and Arimco Mining (1990-1998), who intersected gold at the Lyle and Victory Well prospects, and copper at The Cup prospect, which was not substantively pursued.
Gateway Mining entered into an agreement with Goldfan Ltd. (a subsidiary of Herald Resources) in 2001, allowing them to earn an 85% equity in the Montague Mining Leases (Gidgee Project) by contributing $100,000 in the first three years of the agreement. By 2003, Gateway Mining came had earnt 85% of the Montague Mining Leases (M57/098, M57/048, M57/217).
Throughout 2002, Gateway Mining focused on drilling out the large bedrock anomaly at the Airport prospect, which extended over 750m. A significant result included 20m @ 15.55g/t Au (GRB1231). Minor RAB drilling was conducted between Montague-Boulder and Whistler.
In 2003, a preliminary feasibility study was undertaken by Gateway Mining on the underground potential of Whistler. At this stage, Herald Resources had calculated an Inferred Resource of 159,000t @ 5.3g/t Au for 28,000oz. More RAB drilling was also completed at Airport and Rosie North prospects.
In 2005, Gateway Mining announced drilling programs focusing on two target zones – the Airport prospect and Victory Creek. Detailed multi-element, gravity, magnetics and geochemical datasets were compiled in the lead up to the drill planning. The Julia’s Fault target – located northwest of Whistler - was also tested during this year, with a drill intersection of 25m @ 1.5g/t Au. Placer Dome Australia (a subsidiary of Barrick Gold) farmed into the tenements containing the Julia’s Fault and Victory Creek prospects in 2006. Legend Mining Ltd. signed a joint venture in 2007 with Gateway Mining Ltd. to explore for base metals on Gateway’s E57/709 tenement. This joint venture was terminated in 2010.
Two farm-in agreements were signed in mid-2010 with Avenue Resources which included the four mining leases covering the Rosie, Caledonian, Montague-Boulder and Whistler. Avenue Resources were given the opportunity to earn a 70% interest in the four mining leases, as well as an 80% interest on regional tenements.
From 2010 – 2012, several drilling campaigns were conducted by Avenue Resources on regional targets, including Victory Well. However, the joint venture agreement with Avenue Resources fell away in April 2012 with Avenue Resources not meeting the requirements of the JV.
From 2012 – 2015 Gateway Mining continued exploration but steered away from gold and instead focused on the base metal potential of the Project, particularly Ni-Cu-PGE style mineralization associated with The Cup prospect. No drilling was conducted in 2016, with activities focused on a ‘mineralisation assessment’ of the Montague System, including upgrading of historical records and geological modelling.
In early 2017, Gateway acquired Queensland Coal Investment Holdings Ltd., which comprised of two coking coal projects in the Bowen Basin. However, the transaction fell through in December 2017 due to an inability to obtain clearance from the ASX. Following this, Gateway Mining announced the acquisition of Omni Projects Pty Ltd and their associated tenements adjacent to the Gidgee Project. This acquisition resulted in a change of management within Gateway, and a subsequent refocusing of the company on the gold potential of the Gidgee Gold Project.
2018 – Present
On the 15th March 2018, the incorporation of Omni Projects Pty Ltd and the associated management team into Gateway re-focused the exploration activity towards expanding the known gold resources at Gidgee. Since that time Gateway has achieved several key milestones while carrying out several significant exploration programs. Gateway has now expanded to include an in-house technical team, which is dedicated to the continual exploration and development of the Gidgee Gold Project.