The Couflens Project (France)

The Couflens Project in located in the Pyrenees region of southern France and comprises a 42km2 license area, within which lies the high grade historical Salau tungsten mine.

The mine was one of the world’s highest-grade tungsten mines, producing approximately 930,000 tonnes at 1.5% WO3 for around 11,500 tonnes of WO3 in concentrate, prior to its closure in 1986. This is approximately 10-15 times the current global average.

The mine closed in 1986 following the precipitous fall in the tungsten price caused by Chinese dumping of tungsten into global markets. The mine is open at depth and the continuation of the mineralised system has been confirmed by drilling below the base of the existing underground development.

The deposit is open depth and the continuation of the mineralised system has been confirmed by drilling below the base of the existing underground development.

In addition to tungsten, significant gold values were recorded in the high-grade Veronique zone at the base of the Salau mine, which is largely untapped and is open at depth, as stated in Fonteilles et al, 1989.

Substantial news flow is expected as Apollo Minerals’ geological team rapidly advances a work program designed to facilitate the estimation and reporting of Mineral Resources in the Salau mine area.

Salau mine’s existing underground development and infrastructure are being examined to determine the most efficient method to progress mine exploration and development activities and future mine reactivation.

The database from previous operations is extensive and comprises a combination of high quality geological and drilling data, as well as underground mining and processing data, covering all exploration and production during the mine’s 15 years in operation.

Additional tungsten-copper-gold prospects have been identified within the broader project area and surface exploration programs will be undertaken with a view to further assessing these prospects and generating new targets.

Exploration potential exists for tungsten and gold both within the Salau mine area and within the wider Couflens project area.

Project Overview

The Couflens Project comprises a recently granted exploration licence that covers a 42km2 area in the Pyrenees region and includes the historic Salau mine, which was one of the world’s highest grade tungsten mines when it operated from 1971 to 1986.

The mine is open at depth, with significant gold potential

Couflens Project (Salau Mine)

In March 2018, Apollo Minerals acquired the Aurenere Project, which comprises an Investigation Permit under application which covers an area of 55km2, along strike from and adjacent to the Couflens Project. The Aurenere Project hosts an extension of the highly prospective corridor for tungsten and gold which strikes east-west through the Couflens Project and into the Aurenere Project area.

The acquisition of the Aurenere Project, when combined with the 42km2 Couflens Project, increased the Company’s landholding to 97km2 in this highly prospective region of the Pyrenees.

Salau was one of the highest-grade tungsten mines globally (1.5 – 2.5% WO3) and remains open at depth. The mine is recorded to have produced approximately 930,000 tonnes at 1.5% WO3 for around 11,500 tonnes of WO3 in concentrate prior to closure.

Salau Mine Historic Production

Salau Mine Historic Production

The Salau scheelite skarn tungsten deposit was discovered in the early 1960’s by the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (“BRGM”). Les Mines d’Anglade (“LMA”) operated the mine from April 1971 to November 1986 which is reported to have produced approximately 930,000 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.5% WO3 to yield approximately 11,500 tonnes of WO3 in concentrate.

At the time of closure production was as high as 2.48% WO3 (Figure 2), the existence of remaining resources had been proven and initial discoveries of promising mineralised zones elsewhere had been made, as stated in Fonteilles et al., 1989.

Project geology

Salau is a tungsten-bearing (primarily scheelite) skarn deposit developed at the contact between Devonian pelites and calcareous sediments of the Barregiennes Formation and a Hercynian-aged granodiorite stock (“Fourque”). The skarn formed within both the carbonate-bearing sediments and, to a much lesser degree, the host granodiorite. Mineralisation is directly related to the Fourque granodiorite which provided hot, tungsten- copper-gold bearing solutions that reacted with the host rocks to form the skarns and deposit metal-bearing minerals.

Salau consists of two known mineralised systems, the Bois d’Anglade embayment (Formation Nord, Gulfe, Formation Sud, and S.C. ore zones) and Veronique. Bois d’Anglade was discovered first and provided the bulk of the early production. Veronique, 300 metres to the west, was discovered in 1975 and provided higher grade tungsten production (average 1.9% WO3), including gold-rich material (not recovered in milling) towards the end of the mine life. Limited sampling of material from the lower section of the Veronique Southeast zone indicated the presence of high grade gold (Fonteilles et al, 1989).

Couflens Project - Salau Mine Area Geology

Apollo Minerals Couflens Project

The geometry of the orebodies at Salau is complex and appears controlled mainly by irregularities in the intrusive contact and by faulting. Two principal types of metalliferous skarns are developed:

  • Prograde skarns: initial metasomatism resulted in the formation of broad zones of prograde skarns containing modest tungsten values (0.2 to 0.5% WO3)
  • Retrograde skarns: later hydrothermal fluids overprinted the prograde skarns and deposited sulphide-rich material (mainly pyrrhotite) containing substantially higher values of tungsten, gold and copper. It is these sulphide-rich skarns which provided the bulk of the former production from the Salau mine.
WORK PROGRAMS

Salau Mine Area:

  • Mapping and sampling of mineralisation and prospective fault structures exposed within the Salau mine to occur after the completion of safety tests in order to verify the historical data for resource estimation purposes and to generate additional exploration targets
  • Ranking and prioritising the numerous identified priority exploration targets based on the available historical database and recent 3D geological modelling
  • Drill programs are being designed to confirm known zones of mineralisation within the Salau mine area and to test for extensions of these zones. Company will assay for multi-elements including tungsten and gold
  • Evaluating the use of underground geophysical surveys to facilitate the identification of new drill targets and enhance the Company’s understanding of geological structures within the Salau mine area
  • Planning geotechnical stability tests and additional sampling programs at the tailings disposal areas outside the Salau mine where gold grades of up to 8.94 g/t were recorded and tungsten grades averaged 0.49% WO3 based on previous tailings sampling programs

Within the broader ground holding including the Couflens Project (France) and the adjacent Aurenere Project (Spain):

  • Conduct further surface exploration programs to assess the identified tungsten and gold prospects at Couflens and Aurenere and advance them to the drill ready stage
  • Planning for airborne geophysical surveys to refine regional targets and improve Company understanding of regional geological structures
EXPLORATION POTENTIAL

The Company’s exploration efforts will be focused on three areas:

  1. Veronique Zone down plunge below existing mine development

    Previous underground drilling by the former mine owners recorded a number of high grade tungsten-bearing skarn intersections below the 1230m level access adit, which represents the down-plunge continuation of the Veronique ore system. The tungsten grade of this zone of mineralisation was reported as being similar to that derived from mining in the upper levels of Veronique.

    The system remains open at depth and is believed to contain substantial gold credits as stated in Fonteilles et al, 1989.

  2. Granodiorite contact around the Salau mine

    Potential also remains around the other previously mined areas (Veronique and Bois d’Anglade systems) where remnant zones of tungsten-bearing material appear present.

    In addition, discoveries documented by LMA at “Ouer d’Aigle” and “Christine”, plus a number of other scheelite skarn occurrences at the surface on the flanks of the Fourque granodiorite remain largely untested.

    Numerous tungsten skarn occurrences have been identified around the historical Salau mine on the margins of the major granodiorite intrusion

    Where these occurrences are intersected by fault structures, the mineralisation is typically sulphide-rich and contains substantially higher values of tungsten (up to 8.25% WO3), gold (up to 24.5 g/t) and copper (up to 0.94%)

3. Regional corridor of > 5km strike prospective for tungsten-copper-gold towards the Aurenere Project

Additional tungsten-gold and gold prospects have been identified within the broader project area and further surface exploration programs will be undertaken with a view to further assessing these prospects and generating new targets.

4. Targets identified at the Aurenere Project

An initial reconnaissance field campaign was carried out in September 2017 by NeoMetal Spania S.L to assess a previously identified skarn occurrence located in the northeast of the Project area.

An outcrop of pyrrhotite rich skarn located at the contact between a granodiorite and carbonate-bearing sediments was mapped and sampled, with assay results confirming the presence of high grade gold (up to 33.90 g/t) and tungsten (up to 5.49% WO3) mineralisation associated with the pyrrhotite rich skarn.

EXPLORATION PROGRAM & Results

Apollo Minerals is working towards the reactivation of the high grade Salau tungsten mine whilst also conducting exploration programs for gold and tungsten across the surrounding 42km² licence area.

In 2016 a surface exploration program resulted in the identification of gold occurrences associated with three main east-west trending fault structures within the Couflens licence area. 

In September 2017, a follow-up surface exploration program was completed which was primarily focussed on identifying extensions to the gold occurrences along these fault structures. The majority of samples were collected on the margins of the granodiorite intrusion (Fourque granodiorite) near the historical Salau tungsten mine.

The exploration program included detailed geological and structural mapping, rock chip sampling of outcrop, and input of the data into an ArcGIS software package to facilitate data integration and interpretation.

A total of 222 select rock chip samples were collected during the field campaign and subsequently submitted for gold and multi-element (including tungsten and copper) analysis. 

Assay results from the gold samples were received first and were reported to the market on 29 November 2017, demonstrating widespread gold occurrences with grades of up to 24.5 g/t. For full results please click here. 

Assay results from all other elements, including tungsten and copper, were subsequently received and were reported to the market on 5 February 2018. The tungsten assay results confirmed the presence of widespread, outcropping, high grade skarn mineralisation around the margins of the Fourque granodiorite. Where the skarns are observed to be intersected by east-west trending fault structures/shear zones, the mineralisation is typically sulphide-rich (mainly massive pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite) and contains substantially higher values of tungsten (up to 8.25% WO3), gold (up to 24.5 g/t) and copper (up to 0.94%).  For full results please click here.

Tailings

A total of 34 tailings samples were collected from the historical tailings disposal area adjacent to the mine portal (1230m level) during a recent field campaign.

These tailings samples returned gold assays up to 8.94 g/t, confirming the presence of high grade gold associated with the tungsten ore mined at the historical Salau mine. A number of tailing samples returned tungsten assay results >1% WO3, with the average value of the tailings samples being 0.49% WO3 (assays ranged from 0.13 – 4.04% WO3, with one outlier excluded).

Whilst very early stage in nature, the Company plans to study the potential to reprocess the tailings to extract the tungsten and gold whilst at the same time restoring the natural landscape and habitat and improving soil conditions left over from the historical tungsten operations.

Aurenere Project:

In March 2017, Apollo Minerals entered into an agreement with NeoMetal Spania S.L to acquire a 75% interest in the Aurenere tungsten-gold project in northern Spain.

 Aurenere Project comprises an Investigation Permit application that covers a 55km2 area contiguous with the Couflens Project in neighbouring France and provides an extension of strike along a highly prospective corridor for tungsten and gold.

An initial reconnaissance field campaign was carried out in September 2017 by NeoMetal Spania S.L to assess a previously identified skarn occurrence located in the northeast of the Project area.

The reconnaissance field program included detailed geological and structural mapping, rock chip sampling of outcrop, and input of the data into an ArcGIS software package to facilitate data integration and interpretation.

An outcrop of pyrrhotite rich skarn located at the contact between a granodiorite and carbonate-bearing sediments, measuring approximately 100m2 in area, was mapped and systematically sampled.

A total of 68 select rock chip samples were collected on an approximately 1m by 1m grid over the skarn outcrop and submitted for gold and multi-element (including tungsten and copper) analysis. The assay results, which have been verified by the Company, confirmed the presence of high grade gold (up to 33.90 g/t) and tungsten (up to 5.49% WO3) mineralisation associated with the pyrrhotite rich skarn. These results were reported to the market on 27 March 2018. For full results please click here.