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Winter exploration

From left: Kayne Normore, Charles Gillman, Giles Dodds, Robert King, Jacob Newman at Matador Mining’s camp near Isle aux Morts in Sept. 2021. – © René J. Roy / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Rosalyn Roy

Editorial Director

– with files from Ryan King

ISLE AUX MORTS – Matador Mining will continue its drilling exploration along the Cape Ray gold shield throughout the inhospitable Newfoundland winter weather. That means crews will continue to operate from the base camp, which until this year, shut down in late fall and only re-opened in the spring. Getting to and from the camp is a challenge even without snow, as the narrow road is predominantly rough, uneven gravel and filled with potholes.

“The whole camp set-up has been winterized and we are using a Snowcat to access the camp on a daily basis – bringing in supplies and taking out drill core, etc. to our Port aux Basques core shed facility,” confirmed Project Manager Keith Bowes via e-mail.

Matador’s 2021 summer program was its biggest exploration program to date at Cape Ray in terms of both budget and metres drilled. Among the year’s highlights were the aeromag program (geophysics surveys using a helicopter) that produced some of the best and most detailed magnetic data ever produced on the island.

“This has been incredibly valuable in defining our exploration targets to which we can then send the drill rig,” explained Bowes.

The company also optimized its ATV-mounted drilling process, called Winkie drill, which collects shallow samples over large portions of its tenements, which helps Matador identify drilling targets.

Over 20,000 metres of diamond drilling were done over the period, with the majority of the assay results now received.

“The drilling has shown to have extended the known mineralization at Window Glass Hill – potentially more gold ounces can be added to our Mineral Resource,” wrote Bowes. “We identified with first pass drilling a minimum of four new mineralized areas that we can now follow up on with further drilling to determine their potential.”

In addition, Matador Mining was recognized by the Newfoundland and Labrador ranch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum as the Prospector/Explorer of the Year for ‘continuous advancement and outstanding results’ at the Cape Ray Gold Project.

During its winter drilling season, the company plans to focus on areas close to its camp, with a 5 km maximum distance north and south, all on the eastern side of the Isle aux Morts River.

“The winter drilling allows us to maintain a steady pace of exploration without having the long breaks we had in previous years where the news flow from the company reduces during winter months. The areas we have identified being close to the camp are also relatively simply to drill during winter and give us a head start with regard to some of our targeting and planning when it comes to the big summer season program,” stated Bowes.

Matador Mining has to contend with some logistics beyond using a Snowcat to access its camp.

“Safety for our personnel in terms of exposure and risks in terms of getting disoriented in whiteouts. Weather also plays a role, and we know there will be periods where poor weather stops us drilling. To address these issues we have undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment and put (in) place a large number of mitigations to reduce these risks to a manageable level,” said Bowes.

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