The Paymaster zinc- silver prospect is located approximately 30km south west of Tonopah in Nevada, USA and the mining claims cover an area of more than 390 Acres.
Zinc skarns are important not only as a source of zinc, lead, copper, silver and other associated metals but also as indicators of buried porphyry copper and molybdenum deposits. As a class of mineral deposit they include a number of world class zinc-silver deposits such as Antamina in Peru.
The Paymaster skarn mineralisation was originally prospected in the late 1950’s under US Defense Minerals Exploration Administration grant system. A government mining engineer recommended that the project be drill tested, but records suggest this did not take place and no production ensued.
In 1960 it was the subject of a brief publication by the US Geological Survey when zinc rich secondary clay minerals, sphalerite (zinc sulphide), galena (lead sulphide) and magnetite were identified in a pyroxene-garnet-quartz skarn mineral assemblage at the eastern end of the area now claimed by the Company. The prospector scale workings were later described in a Geological Survey of Nevada publication in 1991 by an acknowledged world expert on skarn deposits, Lawrence (Larry) Meinert who, on the basis of his observations, concluded that the Paymaster skarn must be part of a much larger hydrothermal system.
Within the Company’s claim holdings, the skarn mineralisation has recently been traced westward over a total distance of 1.7km in a number of wide spaced and very shallow prospector pits. Seven grab samples of the skarn mineralisation exposed in or excavated from the pits average 10.1% zinc (maximum 20.9%), 1.5% lead (max. 6.5%) 134g/t silver (max 253 g/t or 7.3 ounces/ton) and 0.68% copper (maximum 3.4%).
The skarn samples also contain up to 0.11% cobalt (average of 419ppm or 0.045%) and up to 58ppm tellurium (average 31ppm) and 782ppm bismuth (average 315ppm).
Cobalt is in strong demand for use in new generation batteries. Tellurium's primary use is for manufacturing films for photovoltaic solar cells. When alloyed with other elements, such as cadmium, tellurium forms a compound that exhibits enhanced electrical conductivity. Therefore, a thin film can efficiently absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity.
The mineralised skarn samples were collected largely from one stratigraphic horizon within Cambrian age limestone in contact with shale close to a shale contact and 1 mile south of the limestone contact with the Cretaceous age Lone Mountain granite pluton. Where sampled the skarn appears to be associated with cross cutting faults and the continuity along strike between exposures is currently unknown but pinch and swell is seen on a local scale.
An initial soil sampling programme has also been completed by the Company and this defined significantly elevated levels of Ag, Cu, Zn, Co and Pb over a strike length of over 2,000 metres and work has now focused on two areas of mineralisation:
In 2020 a detailed magnetic survey was carried out by drone to cover these two main prospects.
In addition, an infill soil sampling programme was competed to cover the East Slope Prospect where previous wide spaced soil sampling defined a coherent zinc anomaly over 500m long (+100ppm zinc) and where samples from prospecting pits have assayed up to 21% zinc. Results from this are awaited.