Exploration drilling is underway for Challenger Exploration at its Hualilan Gold Project in San Juan Province, Argentina. In August 2020, Major Drilling teams partnered to unlock the potential at the project by taking part in an expanded 45,000-meter (147,638 feet) drilling program. During 2021, Major Drilling continues specialized drilling services as Challenger undertakes 30,000 meters (98,425 feet) of additional drilling.
In May 2021, Challenger announced three additional exploration licenses and a formal grant to expand mining licenses around the Hualilan project. This will result in an additional 120,000 meters (393,700 feet) of drilling at the project.
Drilling teams work closely with project geologists to make adjustments they encounter including a surprising intersection at the Hualilan project. The intersection presented an unexpected skarn mineralization when compared with other recent drilling. The hole was originally designed to confirm the edge of the intrusion-hosted mineralization in the Gap Zone.
“The last thing we were expecting that far west was high grade skarn mineralization,” Kris Knauer, Challenger Exploration Managing Director, said.
The discovery required drilling teams to mobilize special rigs that can drill horizontal holes.
Core from drill hole GNDD-266 limestone hosted oxidized skarn mineralization, 38 meters downhole at the Hualilan Gold Project in San Juan Province, Argentina. Photo courtesy Challenger Exploration.
Due to the presence of skarn, often an indicator of gold-grade distribution in an ore body, Challenger teams felt confident about exploring the Gap Zone area for high-grade extensions across the entire project. Major Drilling teams were ready and provided resources for further exploration.
In April 2021, Major Drilling used its Spyder rig to collar a series of test holes designed to extend the Magnata Fault, one of the main mineralised structures at Hualilan to the east. These holes were located in steep terrain where access was limited and has to be drilled at very low angles to accommodate the terrain. Challenger geologists are still waiting to receive the assay results, but given the presence of limestone hosted skarn mineralisation in all the holes they are confident the results will be good.
“We appreciate the expertise of the Major Drilling crews to respond to our needs to immediately collar these test holes,” Knauer said. “With their help and with the hard work of all of our teams on the ground, our Flagship Hualilan project continues to deliver great results.”
Major Drilling teams have operated in Argentina since 1996 and have completed multiple exploration drilling projects in San Juan Province including El Pachón (Glencore), Los Azules (McEwen Mining) and Altar (Aldebaran Resources). The area, bordering Chile on the western side, is known for world-class copper deposits and emerging lithium discoveries. Major Drilling teams are experienced in drilling to extract high-grade lithium brine in response to demand for batteries in electric vehicles and other renewable energy solutions.
The teams adhere to a variety of safety programs including the TAKE 5 risk assessment, the 10 Lifesaving Rules and Critical Risks Management. These programs reinforce Major Drilling’s proactive approach to health and safety and ensure the branch has access to the most up-to-date safety standards.
Major Drilling teams also strive to give back to the community. In October 2020, they delivered COVID-19 relief supplies to a pensioner’s home in Las Flores, a small town in San Juan Province. Their donation of food, personal hygiene and clothing items improved the lives of 220 elderly citizens. These efforts are part of Major Drilling’s commitment to environmental, social and governance issues in the communities where it does business.