‘Many indicators of gold’ in region

A Canadian mining company is launching an aggressive drilling programme in the hopes of finding "the jewel in the crown" in Otago’s resurgent gold sector.

KO Gold chief executive Greg Isenor said "everything points to a discovery" in the Otago Gold District — the site of a planned explorative drilling programme across four permits.

The operation, announced this week, would neighbour Santana Minerals’ Bendigo-Ophir gold project, whose Rise and Shine deposit has been touted as the most significant single gold discovery in New Zealand in four decades.

KO Gold owns a total of nine prospecting and exploration permits in the district, a combined land package of 833sq km, with four exploratory permits — Carrick, Smylers Gold, Hyde and Glenpark — selected for drilling.

In a statement, the company said drilling was expected to commence over the next four to six weeks supported by a Dunedin-based geological team.

Mr Isenor said their "aggressive" drilling plan included the possibility of making "significant" new gold discoveries at the Carrick and Hyde permits, and delineating mineralised zones at Smylers Gold and Glenpark.

This initial plan was just the start and could lead to a much larger drilling programme prior to the end of 2024, depending on the results, he said.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Isenor said KO Gold had "done a lot of homework" and had very good indications from past drilling.

"There are so many indicators of gold deposits in the Otago and certainly Santana Minerals, who did a fabulous job, have shown that," he said.

"Certainly the Carrick could be the winner, it could be the jewel in the crown."

KO Gold were also conducting grassroots geological work to identify new locations, Mr Isenor said.

He believed Santana Minerals, from KO Gold’s interpretation, probably lined up with the same shear zone — a zone of geological disruption that generates the conditions for gold emplacements — that hosted OceanaGold’s Macraes gold mine.

While the Carrick permit had a different shear zone altogether and there were several indicators that needed to be evaluated, it had potential, he said.


Mr Isenor said any gold discovery needed to have the financing and the rigs to follow-up on with a larger drilling programme.

The company had spent more than $C1.5 million ($NZ1.78m) in exploration and drilling on its permits over the past four years, and Mr Isenor estimated it needed between about $C3m and $C5m in their treasury to get drilling started over the next 18 months.

Their next steps would be to get staff better positioned in Otago, complete Department of Conservation access agreements, identify drilling contractors and complete consultations with iwi, he said.