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By Shane Lasley
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Auryn applies AI to search for Nunavut gold


Last updated 3/27/2020 at 3:44am

Auryn Resources Inc.

Auryn Resources applied machine learning to refine targets for 2019 drilling in a prospective area near the Three Bluffs gold deposit at the heart of its expansive Committee Bay property.

A technically driven mineral exploration company, Auryn Resources Inc. has become known for applying some of the most advanced technologies in its search for gold in Canada.

This year, Auryn teamed up with Computational Geosciences Inc. (CGI) to use artificial intelligence to assist in identifying the best drill targets at its 390,000-hectare (964,000 acres) Committee Bay gold project in Nunavut.

VNet, a deep learning algorithm developed by CGI that requires expertise in geoscience data processing, data interpretation, and artificial intelligence.

Auryn said the biggest advantage of a data-driven solution is the ability to extract subtle correlations across multiple datasets over a large spatial area, all while reducing human bias. By generating targets with deep learning, and vetting them with an experienced geoscience team, the expertise of the human is still utilized but complemented by the power of the machine.

"The CGI machine learning platform will leverage our highly-disciplined and thorough approach to data collection with the deep knowledge of Auryn's technical team to produce the highest probability targets," said Auryn Resources COO and Chief Geologist Michael Henrichsen.

For machine learning to work, however, accurate geological, geochemical and geophysical inputs are required.

"Simply put, garbage in equals garbage out," said Henrichsen. "However, in Auryn's case, our discipline to collect rigorous high-quality datasets allows for high-quality outputs from the machine learning."

Committee Bay is a massive property that covers a gold enriched greenstone belt that extends for roughly 300 kilometers (180 miles) across Nunavut's Kitikmeot region.

At the heart of this belt lies Three Bluffs, where 2.1 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 7.85 grams per metric ton (524,000 ounces) gold; and 2.9 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 7.64 g/t (720,000 oz) gold has been outlined.

Over the past couple of years, Auryn has identified two promising targets – Aiviq and Kalulik – along a 20-kilometer- (12.5 miles) long shear zone north of Three Bluffs.

Aiviq, located about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) north of Three Bluffs, was first drilled by Auryn in 2017. One hole drilled that year, 17RGR003, cut 12.2 meters of 4.7 g/t gold, including 3.1 meters of 18.09 g/t gold.

The company drilled another 16 holes at Aiviq during 2018. The best hole of this program cut 13.5 meters of 1.54 g/t gold, including six meters of 3.3 g/t gold. This hole, 18RG012, was drilled toward the southwest end of the 2018 program.

Kalulik, situated about 10 kilometers (six miles) southwest of Aiviq, was also drilled last year. This drilling at Kalulik cut 10- to 20-meter-thick zones of low-grade gold mineralization. Results from this drilling include 21.34 meters at 0.4 g/t gold and 16.76 meters of 0.45 g/t gold.

While this drilling has yet to turn up a deposit with the size and grade Auryn is looking for, there are indications that such a deposit is hidden below the glacial till that masks the underlying geology at Committee Bay.

To help refine drill targets across the "Three Bluffs playing field" – a 1,600-square-kilometer- (620 square miles) area that encompasses Three Bluffs, Aiviq and Kalulik – VNet was "trained" to correlate geological, geochemical and geophysical inputs to gold-rich drill intercepts previously encountered. This training was refined until machine learning could predict 99 percent of the previous drill holes that contain gold mineralization.

The machine learning program generated 12 targets, many of which correlated with targets previously identified by Auryn's technical team. This increased the team's confidence in both the machine learning and their own targeting.

Some of the AI targets lie under lakes and areas where glacial sediments have completely masked any geochemical indications on the surface.

"This provides the technical team with targets that may otherwise have been overlooked and opens up a number of areas for further evaluation," said Auryn's chief geologist.

A 2,700-meter drill program carried out this summer tested two of the AI and other targets in the target area. Assay results had yet to be released as of the writing of this report.

In addition to its cutting-edge work in Nunavut, Auryn identified two new gold-silver targets with more traditional exploration at Homestake Ridge, a high-grade gold property about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Stewart, British Columbia.

The new targets are roughly six miles (10 kilometers) northeast and 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) south of the three main deposits at Homestake Ridge – Homestake, Homestake Silver and South Reef.

Combined, these deposits host 604,000 metric tons of indicated resource averaging 6.4 g/t (124,000 oz) gold, 48.3 g/t (939,000 oz) silver and 0.18 percent (2.4 million pounds) copper; plus 6.77 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 4.2 g/t (911,000 oz) gold, 93.6 g/t (20.37 million oz) silver and 0.11 percent (16.3 million lb) copper.

Rock samples collected last year from the new northern target, Bria, returned assays of up to 11 g/t gold and 448 g/t silver. Auryn said the results from sampling demonstrates the high-grade prospectivity of this target at the northern end of the Homestake Ridge property.

At the new southern target, Kombi, two separate high-priority areas have been defined from consecutive drainage basins where historical stream sediments were anomalous in gold and silver.

Auryn budgeted C$700,000 for mapping, rock sampling and ground geophysical survey this year to refine drill targets at these newly identified Homestake Ridge prospects.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Phone: (907) 726-1095


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