HISTORIC records revealing grades of up to 5324.5 grams per tonne of gold at the Aorangi gold mine in New Zealand’s South Island have been uncovered by Perth-based explorer Strategic Elements.
Aorangi, which is part of Strategic Elements’ Golden Blocks Goldfield project, produced about 26,000oz of gold at an average head grade of 46.9g/t before poor pumping equipment failed to prevent mine water issues and stalled further development.

It was previously accepted that no attempt had been made to reopen the mine since its closure in 1914.
However, archived records discovered by Strategic Elements revealed a little-known effort by local company Golden Block Mines (GBM) to reopen the goldfield in 1932. “It is now clear that No. 3 Level of the
Aorangi mine has approximately 300m of completed underground development left unmined in 1914,” Strategic Elements said in a statement.

“Over 17 years after the mine closed, GBM drove into this section of the mine successfully cutting through a vein grading 663g/t over 0.75m across the full width of the quartz, including 5324.5g/t over 0.25m.”

A number of other archived records and independent reports also increased support for high grade gold mineralisation to extend beneath the previously mined levels. Strategic Elements managing director
Charles Murphy said after reviewing more than 1000 pages of information, and undertaking due diligence and field validation, the next step would be investigation of the Aorangi mine at depth.

“Work has also begun to understand any potential early mine development opportunities, including drilling and underground sampling requirements, along with identifying optimal means of regaining access to the historic workings,” he said.
“The wider Golden Blocks Goldfield truly is a forgotten, exceptionally high grade early 1900s goldfield.”
The company expected to establish access to Aorangi’s No. 3 Level and conduct underground sampling and mapping to delineate extensions to high-grade gold mineralisation beneath the Aorangi mine

It would then assess the potential to construct an underground winze to 60m depth below No. 3 level to open a new No. 4 level.
Strategic Elements is registered under the Pooled Development Program run by the Australian Federal Government. Its key investment – the wholly owned Strategic Materials – has a portfolio of exploration projects in New Zealand, including the Golden Blocks Goldfield project.