Copper cathode producer Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) is continuing to grow its McLeod Hill (MHML) tenement on the back of ‘significant’ near-surface intercepts returned from reverse circulation (RC) drilling.
The company reports oxide mineralisation at McLeod Hill is interpreted to define 3 zones, which include a low-grade surface copper oxide of 0.3% copper, a deeper oxide zone of between 0.60% copper to 1% copper, and an underlying transitional/sulphide zone of 1% copper.
Mineralisation is interpreted to be open and untested to the northwest into the adjoining sub-blocks held by Austral.
Key intercepts include hole MTKC0705 with 25m @ 1.41% copper from 54m including 16m @ 2% copper from 60m.
Results also include further intersections of ‘higher-grade’ zones, and extend continuity and support resource potential.
Austral notes it has engaged a third-party to update and potentially increase the JORC-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the project. The company’s McLeod Hill mineral lease currently contains a JORC MRE of 1.42 million tonnes (Mt) at 0.49% copper.
The company will move forward with an evaluation of both the prospect economics and required triggers, as well as representative samples to enable assessment of copper solubility and recovery metrics.
Austral reports that the presence of near-surface potentially economic grades of copper oxide, and the potential to extend the resource volume, located on a mining lease within 5km of the Mt Kelly SX-EW plant, are positive indicators into further exploration and resource development at MHML.
Positive results from the 2023 drilling program will be further progressed including an evaluation of prospect economics and required triggers, given proximity to the Mt Kelly processing plant.
Austral will also evaluate representative samples to enable assessment of copper solubility and recovery metrics. Once the adjoining sub-blocks are granted, exploration will evaluate high prospectivity targets including extensions of the MHML oxide resource to the northwest, and other potential targets.
Austral is yet to resume trade having been suspended yesterday in anticipation of the announcement.
“These recent exploration results at McLeod Hill are positive for the overall potential of the prospect“
Addressing the results, Austral Resources Exploration Manager Ben Coutts says: “These recent exploration results at McLeod Hill are positive for the overall potential of the prospect. Continued evaluation of the higher-grade continuity, into areas extending beyond the current mineral resource, warrants further development.
In addition, these holes were designed to maximise intersection widths of mineralised zones, and supply material for representative sampling and evaluation into copper solubility and recovery. This sampling will extend across the regolith and transitional profiles.
The current Mineral Resource at McLeod Hill was last updated in 2010, and 2023 drilling by Austral has more than doubled the number of drillholes into the MRE update in-progress. Further results from this work will become available in Q4 2023.
The resource development progress detailed above has the potential to provide improved grade and recovery estimates into the McLeod Hill Mineral Resource and prospect economics, located on an ML, 5km to the south of Mt Kelly, and present a solid resource development growth opportunity.”
Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au
Images: Austral Resources