A STAWELL-based mineral exploration company has struck gold.
Navarre Minerals managing director Geoff McDermott said preliminary results from a shallow-digging program near Cherrypool last month had unearthed a new gold zone.
He said the entire depth of a 66-metre hole was mineralised with gold.
A second, shallower hole nearby also contained the precious metal, from the surface down to 45 metres.
"We've uncovered a broad, lower-grade gold zone containing higher-grade gold," he said.
"The zone also contains strong lead, silver and zinc values associated as well."
The drilling program was aimed at confirming shallow copper mineralisation, atop a deeper porphyry copper deposit.
Navarre believed gold and base metal deposits were in the mix.
"The drilling we have done is firm evidence supporting our beliefs this area might have the potential to develop a mine," Mr McDermott said. "Our confidence is high."
But he said proving the theory would require further exploration.
"We need to follow up with further exploration programs involving drilling, mapping and some geochemical sampling," he said.
The remaining results from the shallow-digging program would also shape the company's plans.
Mr McDermott said it was likely Navarre's priority would be the new gold and copper discovery site.
"The shallow mineralisation provides a pathway that could lead us to the deeper porphyry target, we believe," he said.
The prospect Navarre Minerals has been exploring falls within a copper belt called the Miga Arc.
State and federal government geoscientists unearthed the strip of volcanic rock while surveying the geology of western Victoria.
The Miga Arc runs through the Wimmera, tracing an old tectonic plate boundary from the Victorian coastline at Warrnambool, north into the Mallee.
Mr McDermott said geoscientists would return to the Wimmera next month to further their research with a multi-million-dollar drilling program.
"The surveys are designed to attract new mineral investment to the area," he said.
"If a potential mine is found, it will result in jobs and build on existing infrastructure."
He described circumstances in the Wimmera as being a 'perfect storm' for a mine because it already contained a skilled workforce, communities accustomed to mining, and proximity to a deep-sea port.
"All it requires now is the discovery of a sufficient ore body," Mr McDermott said.