Abacus Mining CEO Interview: Zeroing In On The Mother Lode - Part 2
Publisher's Note: Today we have the second and final part of Gerardo Del Real's interview with Mr. Michael McInnis, Executive Chairman of Abacus Mining and Exploration (TSX-V: AME) (OTC: ABCFF). The first part may be found here.
Today, we'll hear about what makes the Willow property unique and promising as exploration continues.
To your wealth,
Publisher, Outsider Club
Gerardo Del Real: Now, in looking over your company presentation, looking at the mapping [of the Willow property], I want to start with the geological mapping. You have two broad alteration zones, one zone in the north, one zone in the south.
Tell me about the work that went into the mapping and why you now believe that the southern alteration zone is the better target?
Mike McInnis: Yeah, absolutely. Maybe again, if we step back a tiny bit, I should put this in a broader context. Maybe just talk a wee bit about the architecture of a porphyry copper system so we can put our work into that context if that's okay with you?
Gerardo Del Real: That would be excellent Mike.
Mike McInnis: Yeah. Porphyry copper deposits are known all through the world, as you know, and they form underneath volcanoes. Anywhere from three to four kilometers underneath that volcano. This is a very hot area where the copper mineralization is deposited, and streaming out from that copper mineralization are extremely hot gasses, hot fluids, streaming up towards the surface.
Well, as they are moving up through the rock column, they alter the minerals in the rocks overlying the deposit, and created these various assemblages of alteration minerals. As the gasses, et cetera, rise to surface they cool and they make different alteration minerals. If we understand the alteration system, we can go from the cooler alteration minerals to the hotter ones, and that's a vector.
That's kind of what we tried to do. In addition to the alteration, these gasses, et cetera, are depositing trace metals, and they have a specific pattern that's well-identified within porphyry copper systems. So if you can define the trace metal pattern, you will also get pointed in the right direction.
In other words, some of the cooler minerals like the leads, and zinc, they're further away from their deposit, where some of the other ones are closer, like molybdenum. Very briefly, that's kind of the broader architecture.
We have a large system, and our plan with our work was to design a program to understand the distribution of not only the alteration, but the trace metal patterns and vector into the center. That was the premise of our program.
The geological mapping that we did, they had three goals on that. One, we wanted to confirm that we had the right age rocks consistent with the rocks that had held all the other porphyry coppers in the district. And we wanted to define the broader patterns of alteration, and we wanted to look at structure.
Mike McInnis: I hired a fellow by the name of Brock Riedell, who is a consulting geologist. He spent his entire career in porphyry coppers. Very, very experienced. So, I thought, "This is a job for Brock," and he and his partner carried out an exceptionally good body of work there. Goals were, "Are we in the right rocks?" Brock's work, plus the age dating said, "Yeah, we have the same rocks as everybody else in the district."
"Are the alteration patterns consistent with porphyry coppers?" "Yes, we got that."
And we defined some structures, so we could see if there's any dislocation that we might have to take into account when we did the drilling program.
So, very successful on the geological mapping. Alongside of that geological mapping, we said, "Well, we need to see what the distribution of these trace metals are, as well as copper."
So we did a grid geochemical program over the targets, and ended up with again, a pattern-worthy trace metal distribution. The cooler ones were to the west of the property, and the hotter ones were to the east.
The other thing that Brock identified is the number of quartz veins. We created a map that had the intensity of quartz veins. And again, the intensity was lower on the west side of the property, and higher on the east side. To get back to your original question about the two.
The alteration in the northern one is similar, but we're not seeing the same alteration that we would've liked to have seen up there. And we're not getting any of the geochemical patterns, and we're not getting any quartz veins. So we've focused on the southern alteration zone because it had all the elements that we were looking for in the geological mapping.
We think the northern one is likely an alteration pattern related to porphyry copper, but if there is one that's way off to the east end of our property... That's how we got focused in on the southern one, if that makes sense to you?
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. Tell me a bit about the soil's geochemistry? The copper and soil's geochemistry?
Mike McInnis: The geochemical work, as I said, showed some of the trace metals increasing towards the west. But the copper, and this is on our website, the copper just showed a bullseye copper anomaly on the eastern side of our property. It's quite strong, and again, it's where you would want it to be in terms of all the other vectors. There's a solid copper anomaly on that east side, supported by trace metals increasing towards that direction. So, from the geochemical work, and that's both soils and rocks, we had a clear vector onto the east side as well, and the copper anomaly certainly supports that.
We did also some geophysical work. We did a magnetic survey, and we did an induced polarization survey, or an IP. The purposes of those, often in and around the center of mineralization, the heat will destroy the magnetite within the rocks, and as a consequence you'll get a [magnetic] low in and around the center of the mineralization.
This was evident to us on the Anne Mason deposit, which is a number of kilometers just east of us where the deposit, Anne Mason, lies right within a mag low, surrounded by mag highs. When we got all the mag done, we had the exact same thing, mag low over that eastern side, flanked by mag highs.
The induced polarization surveys, they pick up subsurface sulfides. The idea there is the more sulfides, the bigger the anomaly. So most of these porphyry coppers, they're surrounded by pyrite, and that ends up being your strongest IP. But right over the deposit of course you have copper sulfides and you'll get a weaker anomaly in that area. This is exactly what happened last we looked, nice IP anomaly just flanking this target. So again, a vector onto that target zone.
Gerardo Del Real: So the theory Mike, is that Willow has formed a separate porphyry center that's now displaced further west? Is that accurate?
Mike McInnis: Yeah. One of the original thoughts is that it was an alteration zone coming from quite a distance. It's a possibility, but we thought, "Well, we don't know if that's the case or not, so let's do our work and see if that's the case."
Brock went in with an open mind about it, because he'd always read all the literature that, "Yeah, it's an alteration zone, but the center would be probably far to the east."