“I do this because I love it. I wake up at 4 a.m thinking about it,” says the chief executive officer of Cabral Gold and geologist, who stacks together three decades of experience in minerals exploration (Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Peregrine) and was the founder of Magellan Minerals, which was acquired by Anfield Gold in May 2016.
“I’m always thinking about a particular drill hole on the project or perhaps that these samples represent something else, and on and on,” says Carter. “I really do eat, sleep and breathe it.”
Enthusiasm is one thing but so is experience: Carter bunkers both.
READ: Cabral Gold unveils new resource for Cuiu Cuiu property, which provides good platform to advance project
There are no idle hands right now, to put it mildly, as Cabral embarks on a surface exploration program at Cuiu Cuiu, involving soil sampling, auger sampling, pitting and trenching on at least 12 targets in advance of drilling planned for later this year.
The goal? To prioritize drill targets for later in 2018.
Resource estimate update
In June, Cabral released new numbers, which incorporated 22,000 metres of drilling from 2012 not included in an earlier resource estimate, which was based on 26,000 metres (conducted in 2011). The NI 43-101 report was compiled by Micon International Limited and covers four deposits at the site in the state of Para in the north of Brazil.
It totaled 5.9mln tonnes at 0.9 g/t (grams per tonne) for 171,000 ounces of gold in the higher confidence Indicated category (at a cut-off of 0.35g/t). In the lower confidence Inferred category, it reported 19.5mln tonnes at 1.24 g/t for 776,000 ounces in the inferred category.
Some might look at the numbers and say the findings were slightly more conservative than hoped: but that’s when you need to look more deeply, dig through the numbers and provide some context.
The recent resource estimate was slightly less than the previous estimate, but the important difference was that this estimate included a series of top cuts which is basically a statistical exercise which cuts the actual high-grade gold results from drill holes back to a much lower number, in this case, resulting in a 57% difference in the total ounces of gold reported.
When the numbers are considered, without top cuts imposed, the total number of ounces reported actually increased by 14%, and perhaps, more importantly, the grade increases from 1.20 to 1.71g/t gold.
These numbers should be considered the initial resource estimate, and a minimum number according to Carter.
“We’re confident that the size of this project will increase significantly as we move forward” says Carter. “We have economic drill intercepts which include 39m at 5.1g/t gold and 27m at 6.9g/t gold in at least six other targets areas within an 18km long gold-in-soil anomaly, and have been finding a number of new targets with visible gold on surface which we have not yet drilled.”
In short, beneath the resource-capping lies a simple fact that should not be lost: there is high-grade gold at Cuiu Cuiu.
The rapidly developing Tapajos region
Cabral Gold’s Cuiu Cuiu project lies in the fascinating Tapajos region: rich with history, and ripe with possibility.
The Tapajos region was the site of the world’s largest ever gold rush between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s and is estimated to have produced 20-30mln/oz of placer gold. Cuiu Cuiu itself was the largest of these placer areas and is estimated to have yielded 2mln/oz of gold from streams, but the source for much of that gold is yet to be identified. The Tapajos region covers 125,000 sq/km in the Amazon basin, which includes farmland, rainforest and wetlands.
It’s also a region attracting plenty of exploration capital in Brazil – a country where mining is at the heart of the nation’s economy and has been since the 1600’s. Today, Brazil is the world’s 12th largest producer of gold in the world.
And yet, there are challenges too. The area surrounding Cuiu Cuiu is a remote area of the Amazon. Access is merely one road bump, as many of those kilometres exist in the jungle, which presents a number of issues: rain and access to power, being others.
Thankfully, those challenges look reasonable to overcome.
Cabral Gold’s Cuiu Cuiu project is flanked to the south-east by neighbours Eldorado Gold, which constructed a new 70km road to its flagship project, from the BR-163 highway. In May of this year, Eldorado was granted construction licence and tailings permits (though what it does with them remains to be seen). Additionally, new hydroelectric power plants are being planned for the region.
Future looks promising
So what lies ahead? According to Carter, Cabral’s goal going forward is to not only to outline a large, low-grade gold deposit but also to capitalize on the high-grade gold findings.
Cabral will continue its surface exploration program at Cuiu Cuiu, through soil sampling, auger sampling, pitting and trenching on a dozen targets. Drilling is scheduled to get underway later this year.
Carter says he remains confident in its resource, based off the strength and scale of soil anomaly, the high grades returned, not to mention the rich history of the area.
"We believe that surface trenching and further infill drilling will provide additional data that will likely statistically improve top-end cuts, and as a result add significant additional ounces within the existing deposits as well as along strike,” says Carter.
“In addition, the size of the overall gold-in-soil anomaly (18km) and the fact that we have numerous drill holes with gold outside the current resource auger well for the continued growth of the project.”