29/09/2020 - 06:15

Emu roars back onto WA exploration scene

29/09/2020 - 06:15

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Emu NL has come home to roost, charging back onto the WA exploration scene with the acquisition of a transformational pipeline of projects in the south Yilgarn. The company’s latest acquisitions cover a range of targets from the high-grade, shovel-ready Gnows Nest gold deposit through to the Julimar-like Sunfire nickel-copper target representing a veritable smorgasbord of projects set to deliver a torrent of news in the coming months.

Emu NL has come home to roost, charging back onto the WA exploration scene with the acquisition of a transformational pipeline of projects in the south Yilgarn. The company’s latest acquisitions cover a range of targets from the high-grade, shovel-ready Gnows Nest gold deposit through to the Julimar-like Sunfire nickel-copper target representing a veritable smorgasbord of prospects for exploration and potential development.

Emu’s Chairman, Peter Thomas said:

“Gnows Nest represents a near-term, gold production opportunity with a defined initial resource covering an exceptionally high-grade historic mine. Significantly, it sits within a highly prospective geological setting with considerable exploration upside. The spot price of gold, coupled with the Board’s vision as to where it may come to rest, explains why the Company is so excited that it has secured this project, which has been tied up in the hands of private landholders for over 30 years.”

“In addition, exploration work can commence immediately on our highly prospective base metal exploration portfolio within the emerging South West Terrane of WA, highlighted by the recent Julimar PGE-Ni-Cu discovery by Chalice Gold Mines Limited.”

“Following our exit from Chile and subsequent travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board made the strategic decision to focus on WA, where it is expected our activities can continue largely unaffected by the pandemic. These compelling acquisitions have resulted from an extensive and comprehensive project generation and due diligence process and were directed at being a value-accretive and well-rounded early to advanced-stage platform from which to launch the Company in WA.”

Emu has spent the last few years with a focus on offshore exploration but is now headed back into the WA bush with the Gnows Nest gold deposit in the Murchison mineral field, north of Perth, set to be the first cab off the rank. The project is situated 32km southeast of historical gold mining centre at Yalgoo which has recently been attracting the market’s interest due to the exploration success of Firefly Resources and Venture Minerals in the region.

Gnows Nest hosts of a near-surface JORC resource of 113,400 tonnes at 3.78 g/t gold, which the company says shows “significant scope” for expansion. The deposit and tenure were recently acquired from privateer, Coruscant Minerals for $1.2 million and 22,857,142 Emu shares with a further 48,571,429 shares payable on the definition of a 50,000-ounce resource or 34,000-ounce reserve.

The Gnows Nest gold mineralisation is hosted within a talc-chlorite-rich shear zone that also contains an array of quartz veins that varies in thickness from 0.5m to 5m. Historical mining exploited the auriferous quartz veins within the shear down to a depth of around 135m below surface, with approximately 40,000 tonnes of ore being extracted between 1923 and 1941 – the ore averaged a bumper grade of 21.85 g/t gold.

More recent work by Coruscant has included several drilling campaigns aimed at resource definition, which has returned a plethora of high-grade intercepts including 13m at 13.73 g/t gold, including 2m at 76.24 g/t gold, from only 39m depth and 12m at 6.24 g/t gold, including 4m at 17.40 g/t gold, from 23m.

The resource at Gnows Nest is defined down to a mere 55m below surface and remains open in all directions presenting a significant opportunity for the company, both for expansion and development. Interestingly, there are a number of mills in the region looking for high-grade feed to supplement their own supplies. These mills are within easy trucking distance of the deposit and include Silver Lake’s Deflector operations, just 50km to the west and who aren’t afraid to splash the cash, having recently purchased the 454,000-ounce high-grade Rothsay gold project, to the south of Gnows Nest, for a cool $68 million.

In addition, private miner Adaman Resources operate the Kirkalocka mill 90km to the east, with Adaman continuing to wheel and deal over a multitude of resources in the region in an effort to provide high-grade feed to its 3Mtpa operation.

The Gnows Nest gold deposit has already been extensively modelled and shows scope for rapid extension – potentially allowing a quick-fire move toward production, should the open pit models be proved correct. Emu is planning an integrated program of geophysics and 8,000m of reverse circulation drilling to kick off over the Gnows Nest in the next few weeks.

The Gnows Nest acquisition is backed up by a suite base metal projects in WA’s highly sought-after South-West mineral field. The South-West has sprung to prominence following Chalice Gold Mines recent Julimar PGE-nickel discovery east of Perth, with a star-studded line-up of miners and explorers, including the likes of Anglo American, Lithium Australia and Impact Minerals, stalking the new base metal province in search of Julimar and Nova look-a-likes.

Emu has taken a significant short cut in its project generation over the region picking up its new tenure through provincial specialists, Avenger Projects. Avenger overseen the vend of three strategic nickel-copper-PGE projects into Emu for $150,000 in cash and 30 million shares in Emu.

The flagship project in this suite of base metal projects is the Sunfire nickel property south of Bridgetown in the south-west. Sunfire was originally discovered in the 1970s by Planet Mining following its identification of a series of layered mafic-ultramafic intrusions through the terrane, similar in nature to those of the recent Julimar discovery, east of Perth and the Nova-Bollinger nickel discovery in the Fraser Range.

Subsequent work by Planet revealed three extensive base metal trends through the tenure with key prospects at Half-Moon, Aerial, Gommes and Yornup Mill. The Yornup Mill prospect appears to be the most compelling target and boasts multiple layers of exploration data that point to a rapidly evolving drill target.

Surface geochemistry at Yornup shows nickel and copper mineralisation extending over more than 1km of strike and open to both the north and south. In addition, the target boasts a number of highly anomalous shallow drill intercepts, including an eye-catching 19m at 1.07 per cent nickel.

Also of note, the Sunfire target has new neighbours in Chalice Gold Mines, which have taken up residence just down the road having put together a $3.7 million joint venture with fellow ASX-listed explorer Venture Minerals. Chalice is chasing the massive sulphide system at Venture’s Thor prospect, which appears to have similarities to its own Julimar discovery and sits along strike from Emu’s new acquisition.

Emu’s planned exploration at Sunfire will include extensional geochemistry and a range of geophysical surveys over the priority targets within the tenement area.

The company’s other base metal projects in the south-west include the Viper project, surrounding the historical high-grade Netty copper mine, and the Graceland ultramafic intrusion, west of Western Areas Flying Fox nickel mine.

Its Viper project is located in the south of WA adjacent to the town of Jeeramungup. The project covers the 10km long Netty base metal trend that hosts the historical Netty copper mine that produced a small tonnage of high-grade copper during the early to mid-20th century.

Emu’s Viper project has been the subject of limited modern exploration and represents an intriguing opportunity for the company with historical sampling of the underground workings at Netty returning impressive grades of up to 14.1 per cent copper and 0.51 per cent nickel that have yet to be followed up. There has been no drill testing within the vicinity of the old mine, or testing its strike extensions, delivering a blank canvas for Emu’s exploration team.

The company expects auger geochemistry and geophysical surveys to kick off at Viper in the coming weeks.

The final project in the company’s new portfolio appears to be something of a wildcard – high-risk, high-reward. The Graceland prospect is located south of the Wheatbelt town of Hyden between the Flying Fox nickel mine, 95km to the east and the Quicksilver nickel discovery, 7km to the west.

Graceland is a conceptual target outlined by a highly magnetic geophysical anomaly that appears to be a buried mafic-ultramafic intrusion. The target extends over 5km of strike and has yet to be properly drill tested. Curiously, the first-pass geophysics at Graceland indicates the presence of ten magnetic ‘plates’ within the anomaly that may equate to sulphide mineralisation.

Emu intends to test the Graceland prospect with a mix of geochemical sampling and moving loop electromagnetics to better define the target for drill testing.

Whilst Emu has been quiet in recent months, it has clearly been busy. With an astute suite of acquisitions and a growing deck of targets for drill testing, Emu looks set to shake its tail-feathers in the coming months.

Mr Thomas said:

“We are now well-positioned to hit the ground running in a cost-effective manner and expect to announce a series of milestones over the coming months, with a view of advancing towards production and generating near-term cash flow from the Gnows Nest project. Another WA gold project is under consideration and while there can be no guarantee a transaction will be concluded, negotiations are at an advanced stage.”

With yet another transaction in the wings, and Gnows Nest looking hot to trot, the company is in a strong position to deliver a flow of high-grade gold results as it pushes its evolving resource position towards production and the tantalising prospect of early cash-flow to continue work across its transformational suite of projects in WA.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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