Drillers were instrumental in finding a gold mine.

The massive sulfide drill core.
Water well drillers are in an excellent position to make mineral discoveries, especially if they are drilling in metamorphic or igneous terrains.

A resident of Menominee County, Mich., contracted Kleiman Pump and Well Drilling Inc. (KP&WD) in June 1999 to deepen a well at a camp that was producing poor-quality water.

The hole was deepened some 130 feet, and the drillers noted that the last 36 feet of the cuttings from the drill hole had unusual sulfide concentrations. A sample was collected in a 5-gallon bucket and brought back to the shop where it stayed for some four months until it was given to geologist Richard Lassin, a friend and business associate of the owner, Harry Kleiman. In previous years, Lassin and Kleiman worked on various exploration projects throughout Michigan's western Upper Peninsula where Precambrian rocks abundantly occur. KP&WD drill crews were encouraged to bring back samples whenever they thought something unusual was encountered. This particular sample assayed nearly 11-percent zinc and 2-percent lead with elevated levels of silver, gold and copper.

By spring of 2000, Lassin and Kleiman went to the property and inspected the area with the landowner. During this visit, several outcroppings of serecite/pyrite schists were identified, along with one exposure of gossan, which assayed about 0.06 OPT gold. The terrains that were inspected are a part of a middle-Precambrian volcanic belt that extends across northern Wisconsin and into Michigan and hosts several economic VMS-type (volcanogenic massive sulfide) deposits. Most noteworthy is the Flambeau deposit in northern Wisconsin, which was mined by Kennecott for high-grade copper and some gold. Lassin and Kleiman believed that they had found another, new VMS deposit, which some 20 major mining companies had overlooked during their exploration efforts during the 1970s and 1980s. Of noteworthy interest was the fact that this was the first VMS-type deposit to be found in the state of Michigan.

The drill cuttings and outcroppings were significantly interesting enough to support exploration leases from private individuals and from the state of Michigan. After securing a land position, Lassin and Kleiman brought in a new partner to continue the exploration efforts, which included a geophysical assessment that incorporated GPS technology to support a gravity survey. Tom Quigley of Minerals Processing Corp., Duluth, Minn., performed a gravity survey, along with some electromagnetic testing (HLEM) of the subject area. The results demonstrate strong coincident gravity and electromagnetic anomalies that were drill-tested in February 2002.

They intercepted 36.94 meters of massive sulfide mineralization containing 9.15 percent zinc and 0.17 OPT gold. Atop the massive sulfide, a gossan crown was intersected, which contained 3.05 meters of 0.63 OPT gold. Since then, some 70,000 feet of NQ-size core have been removed from the project site, and the discovery of the multi-million-ton L K massive sulfide deposit has been documented to be a world-class zinc/gold deposit with silver, copper and lead credits.

The discovery was based upon the training and instructions given the water well drillers back in the late 1990s. Although they have little training in mineral identification, their efforts to bring in samples and show them to a trained professional geologist helped host a major mineral discovery.