Former owner Ramelius Resources' shift in focus to Mount Magnet in Western Australia's Murchison - aided by the cash bounty from Wattle Dam - saw its modest geological firepower at the time redirected to the centre that would underwrite its future.
Wattle Dam became something of a geological oddity, investigated by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) because of irregular attributes.
A MRIWA report suggested a single deep diamond-core hole drilled beyond the 365m-deep underground workings at Wattle Dam that yielded 210,000oz at an average 14.gpt could be significant. It pointed to signs the 40-70m-wide alteration ‘halo' containing the rich gold pods continued into the regionally significant Spargoville shear.
"The commonly held belief around the time mining finished was that the mineralisation terminated at the Spargoville shear zone," Wither says.
"The deep drilling suggests the alteration associated with the Wattle Dam Main Zone mineralisation extends to and beyond the Spargoville shear zone.
"The deeper drilling was completed late in the life cycle of Wattle Dam, after Ramelius purchased Hill 50 and this theory, or modelling, was never extensively tested. Wattle Dam was only mined to 365m below surface - a relatively shallow underground mine - so Wattle Dam deeps is a near term target for Maximus."
Wattle Dam is in a package of tenements that have sat in a ‘family' of companies associated with the late Bob Kennedy for nearly 20 years. Kennedy was a former director and chairman of Ramelius. Another company, Tychean Resources, did a small amount of exploration around the former mine and identified Redback (JORC 2012 440,000t grading 3.02gpt for 42,900oz) 600m away. High-grade gold intersections over good widths at depths of 40m to 210m will be a focus of follow-up infill and extensional drilling by Maximus.
The company more recently raised eyebrows with a drill hit of 3m at 83.3gpt from 25m depth at what has been called S5, roughly midway between Wattle Dam and Redback.
"There was only one previous 20m RAB hole at S5," Wither says.
"The historical drill spacing across that 600m space between Redback and Wattle Dam is too broad to detect another Wattle Dam."
Golden Orb, roughly adjacent to Redback and about 550m south of Wattle Dam, has also produced high-grade intercepts between about 100-200m depth. And Core Farm, just north-east of Wattle Dam, has returned strong gold grades in shallow paleochannel material over about 450m. The free gold recoverable via a gravity circuit might present a small-scale mining opportunity while the underlying ultramafic rocks await to be tested.
Wither says the five areas are among more than 60 gold and nickel exploration targets Maximus has identified across about 30km of the fertile Spargoville Shear Zone.
The company continues to review historical exploration results and a 422-gigabyte data package.
Wither, a mining engineer who has held senior management and executive positions with companies in Australia, Africa and South America, recently appointed respected former CSA Global structural geologist Dr Travis Murphy to run Maximus' Spargoville exploration campaign, working with Kambalda-based senior geo, Andrew Wood.
Both experienced geologists have had extensive regional and WA goldfields experience.
A recent equity raising and cash at hand have left Maximus in a strong position to advance a significant exploration program.
"I think everyone looking at this ground sees that not much work has been done on it," Wither says.
"There is no real secret to success here; it just needs the work, including drilling, done. We are a small, mobile team focused on these assets.
"We have some near-term cash generation [production] opportunities, but we are hungry for new discoveries."
While getting hold of drill rigs at present is not easy given a state-wide build-up in gold and other exploration this year, Maximus has scheduled an imminent start to a follow-up program at S5 and will aim to get a bigger program underway at Redback before the end of the year.
"Our highest priority target is Redback," Wither says.
"The work by Tychean just adds to confidence that more Wattle Dams might be present.
"Redback has very similar alteration zones to Wattle Dam, and the [typical] high-grade intersections next to lower grade intersections.
"We are very interested in developing and growing the Redback resource and continuing the work at S5 to start building a better understanding of what sits between Redback and Wattle Dam where there's been virtually no previous drilling.
"So there is lots of opportunity on the main tenement, and then we've got another 18km to the north and 16km to the south with our gold rights.
"The eastern side of the Spargoville Shear zone has had high grade nickel deposits mined in the 1970s and 80s. The Kambalda komatiite ultramafics are significant globally for nickel sulphides and this is our second focus. At Hilditch we have nickel intersections sitting between a nickel gossan on surface and an EM conductor plate which hasn't been drill tested.
"And we see this through lots of our data, that we have multiple targets which haven't been followed up.
"It's good to have the second commodity because nickel is slowly getting its time in the sun again."
Up and down WA's Yilgarn block lots of drills are turning on brownfield sites as producers and explorers step up the hunt for high-grade deposits armed with the latest exploration tools.
The time has now come for Wattle Dam and Spargoville to get the same attention after a 10-year hiatus.