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Using Tree Leaves To Find Gold.

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Has anyone heard of using tree leaves to find gold, it seems to be a technique being used in South Australia at the moment



Tree leaves used to find gold in SA

A pair of Marmota geologists used tree leaves to prospect for gold in South Australia.A pair of Marmota geologists used tree leaves to prospect for gold in South Australia.Image: AAP

Plenty of people have claimed to read tea leaves, but reading tree leaves has a less storied history.

Nonetheless, a tiny gold miner has done just that to discover gold in South Australia.

Marmota senior geologist Aaron Brown believes it's the first time biogeochemical sampling has been used to successfully prospect for gold in the southern hemisphere, although the technique has been used in Canada.


Scientists have known for decades that tree roots can effectively act as a hydraulic pump, sucking up tiny specs of gold along with water from deep underneath the earth.

But Australia's landscape is so varied that it can be hard to find consistent vegetation to measure, Mr Brown said.

"You can't go across a landscape and assume everything's the same," he said.

"One euclid can look like another."

But Mr Brown - who abandoned his PhD research in 2002 to go hunt for precious minerals with junior miners - was able to devise a sampling program involving leaves from mulga wattle and senna trees.

They initially sampled trees in a 200 metre by 200 metre grid in their tenements 50km from the historic and now depleted Challenger gold mine 740km northwest of Adelaide.

They used a fresh pair of latex gloves while gathering 200 to 400 grams of leaves from each tree for laboratory analysis by Perth's LabWest, which works with the minerals industry.

They first held a "proof of concept" trial last year to see if testing the leaves worked to detect gold near an area of known mineralisation at Aurora Tank.

It did, giving the $16 million ASX-listed company the confidence to conduct reconnaissance drilling in June based on entirely on leaves from a senna tree.

After six weeks of analysis, Marmota announced the results of that drilling on Wednesday, saying they had found a new zone of "potentially economic mineralisation" about 450 metres north of an existing gold field.

"It's really quite remarkable," Marmota chairman Colin Rose said.

The gold is 44 metres below the surface, with mineralisation of 3.4 grams tonne, Dr Rose said.

"I don't think there's any way we would have found this without the tree sampling," he said.

"It doesn't show up on anything else."

Mr Brown said it would not have been a priority to drill the area without the results.

"We all thought this area was dead," Mr Brown said.

Marmota said it is "without delay" proceeding back to the drill site to collect more samples to be assayed, and plans to conduct more drilling in September to determine the extent of the mineralisation.

The company is exploring options to bring the area into production using open-pit mining.

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CSIRO looked into this back in 2013.



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Interesting reading for sure


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I logged the gems found on hundreds of anthills while prospecting for kimberlite pipes in Wyoming. Plotted it all out on Google Earth. Found pipe locations, but no diamonds. I also use anthills to prospect for gold. The red, stinging harvester ants have a genetic inclination to bring back to the mound the heaviest things they can carry. That includes gold, and gems. You can get a very good idea of the minerals in an area by checking the surface of the mounds. The ants range out as far as 150 yards from each mound. They use the gravel, gems, gold to cover, and protect the mound from the weather. The native Americans considered it bad karma to destroy a mound, so I rarely did it. It's not necessary for prospecting. Some of the mounds are as many as 50 years old.


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This is interesting, just two days ago i was studying if gold had any effect on plant leaf color, growth etc.

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