Gold explorer Stratex International (LON:STI) remains upbeat on the potential of its Blackrock licence in Afar, Ethiopia, but said perseverance will be required following its latest drilling programme.
Stratex's second phase of drilling at Blackrock comprised just over 5,000 metres in 20 holes in three zones.
David Hall, executive director, said: “Both drill programmes have been a technical success in that they have shown gold mineralisation at depth but as yet the bonanza grades observed at surface have not been intersected down-hole.“
"The board remains upbeat, in the knowledge that perseverance is the key during the early stages of such new district-scale exploration programmes."
He added that the drilling had given a greater understanding on the timing, structural controls and setting of the gold mineralisation, while regional mapping had also discovered new outcropping epithermal veins, along with altered rhyolites previously not identified.
"The timing of the gold mineralisation linked with major structures that controlled the rift development, along with presence of rhyolites, now appears critical and this concept will be tested first at the Megenta and Pandora projects - both in the Afar Region - prior to deciding on further drilling at Blackrock. Drilling on Megenta is anticipated in Q4 this year.”
Rock-chip surface samples had also identified a new mineralized zone, the Saba Zone, to the west of the previously defined Airstrip Zone. Best results include 33.7 grams per tonne (g/t) Au and 32.9 g/t from a 50 cm wide quartz - calcite vein.
Elsewhere, early stage work at Gira Block, the eastern most of two blocks comprising the Berahale licence in Ethiopia, had identified a number of targets in the northern area of interest.
Additional veins have also been discovered at the Mariam Hill prospect. These were all hosted by a granodiorite intrusion and mostly ranging in thickness from 25 cm to 60 cm and systematic sampling confirmed they tend to be gold rich with the two highest assays being 20 cm at 215 g/t Au and 35 cm at 14 g/t Au. Trenching is now underway and a limited drill programme may then be instituted, said Hall.
"The new discoveries in the Gira sector of the Berahale licence and the strikingly gold-rich veins of the Mariam Hill prospect in the Tigray licence are also a reminder of the potential of the older geological terranes of the Arabian Nubian Shield on which Stratex is also focusing."