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How Leapfrog Geo with Seequent Central helped Wallbridge Mining accelerate their search for gold and realise the promise of a newly acquired property.

Where some companies see limits, others see potential. But without fast and fluid geological modelling, and an agile way of working, you may never get to prove your beliefs .

In 2020 Wallbridge Mining expanded its land package around their flagship Fenelon Gold Project by acquiring the adjoining Martinière deposit and along the Detour-Fenelon Gold Trend from Balmoral Resources. (Their property now totals over 900km2 in the northern part of Quebec’s Abitibi greenstone belt.)

The underexplored territory had shown early promise historically, but this had not been extensively tested or followed up. Wallbridge began an ambitious 10,000 metre drilling programme at Martinière to follow the known mineralisation at depth and see exactly what that promise could translate to.

“With Fenelon, I suppose we approached it a little differently from other companies,” says Chris Kelly, Senior Geologist at Wallbridge. “Larger businesses with larger overheads had perhaps overlooked it or didn’t see the returns they needed. We’re smaller and we thought, ok, there’s a lot of potential here and with a little work we think this could become something much bigger.” Now they are bringing the same mentality to the Martinière deposit.

“We have an agile mentality, but that only works if you have agile software that can help you keep up. And with Leapfrog we did.”

Speed up the modelling so the drilling stays on target

Critical to the exploration success at Martinière, and the cost-effectiveness of that drilling programme, was the ability to test, learn fast, and quickly move on to the next possibility. With the recent addition of the project, the team was tasked with developing the geological and ore models in preparation for the 2021 resource estimation with a tight timeframe to understand the deposit. “We had to take it positive in a very short time,” remembers Kelly. That challenge involved absorbing a lot of disparate historic data from the previous owners, then reviewing it, interpreting it, and quickly creating the models needed to inform the resource estimation and ultimately make decisions about drilling targets.

“That was a pretty big step to take within a few months, and Leapfrog Geo was instrumental in getting those models created. It gave us so much opportunity to just test ideas, and if they didn’t work, jump to the next with real speed .”

Martinière resource plan view in Leapfrog

Quick to learn. Quick to use

The team was small with everyone closely involved in the project and developing models for it. The software solutions they turned to had to be intuitive and quick to pick up if a variety of geos, with a mix of experience, were going to work together successfully.

For example, before joining Wallbridge in 2018, Kelly himself had only limited exposure to Leapfrog. Yet almost immediately he was needing to generate Leapfrog Geo outputs from a wealth of historic drill hole data.

“I’d had a three-day course!” he recalls ruefully. “But I was still able to do everything we needed within a week.”

“That ease of use was essential for us. With Leapfrog, we would have people brand new to the project and the software still producing meaningful geological models in a very short space of time.”

Rapid insights from a complex mix of geophysical and geological data

Geo’s ability to interpret and model geology and structure from a combination of data types kept the workflows fast and fluid in the search for potentially economic gold deposits.

One of the early tasks was to take EM and Mag data from aerial surveys, perform evaluation and modelling in Oasis montaj, then bring it into Leapfrog as a geophysical grid. “One detail I absolutely loved about that process was how quick it was to change the colour coding,” notes Kelly. “Then we were able to look at the highs within highs, the lows within lows; really start investigating that surficial data and compare it to our drilling and numeric data and visualise that all together.”

Eureka moments? “There’s been quite a few of those. Sometimes it would just be something such as taking our assay data, converting it to a point data set from just the interval midpoints, and then start looking at that and different grade categories. Then we began to see some orientations that previously we hadn’t really identified.” That, together with numerical modelling of gold assays, brought clarity on where they needed to explore further.

Helping a remote team pull together

With team members scattered between Ontario and Québec, the collaborative power of Central also had an impact. Maintaining the rate of modelling needed to make Martinière a success would sometimes involve five geologists, all working on the project in real time at the same time. They needed the ability to rapidly incorporate the results each was producing, and instantly share them.

‘When we model, it’s a team effort,” says Wallbridge Exploration Manager Peter Lauder, “and with Central everyone could be part of that effort. Whereas, on some of our projects in the past, it was really only one individual at a time who could do the work.”

The team could go from a data set to a preliminary model of an entire deposit in two to three days, “from personal experience, an order of magnitude faster,” confirms Lauder.

And through Central, models could be shared in 3D with the company’s management to spin around, investigate independently and provide feedback.

Agile exploration rewarded by significant mineralisation

Wallbridge’s initial drill program that was testing models developed in Leapfrog, was highly successful in demonstrating resource growth potential, with significant gold intersections establishing connection between known zones and extending high-grade shoots at depth. President and CEO Marz Kord declared that Martinière , “has excellent potential to become the company’s second gold asset that can, in the near term, be brought to a meaningful resource size. In addition, there are numerous high-quality targets with discovery potential throughout the property that we are eager to test in future drill programs.”

“The speed at which Leapfrog and Central allowed the business to unlock value from its data has made a key contribution to that,” concludes Chris Kelly. “Without using Leapfrog the way we did, updating the models could have been a month-long process, and if you have 10 drills going on multiple properties… well, that’s very close to being too late!”

Images of Martinière drill core with visible gold mineralisation

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