Caravel Minerals has drilled multiple zones of thick copper mineralisation at the Dasher prospect within its namesake project, located northeast of Perth in the Wheatbelt region of WA. Best intersections include 56m @ 0.53% copper from 18m down-hole and a new deeper discovery of 31.7m grading 0.42% copper from 146m down-hole that included a higher grade 13.7m section going 0.61% copper from 164m.
ASX listed small cap copper explorer Caravel Minerals is rapidly scrubbing up its curious looking, large tonnage copper play right in the middle of the West Australian wheatbelt.
The Perth based company has now drilled two impressively thick intersections of copper mineralisation at its Dasher prospect, located about 7.5km south of the flagship Bindi deposits, 120km northeast of Perth in the Wheatbelt region of WA.
Multiple intersections of elevated grade copper were reported from the latest diamond drilling assays, including a 56 metre section grading 0.53% copper from only 18m down-hole.
This wide zone also incorporated two higher-grade sections of 20m @ 0.66% copper from 18m and 16m @ 0.64% copper from 58m in the mineralised gneissic rock sequence.
The same drill hole also returned 6m @ 0.69% copper from 12m down-hole in the oxidised zone near surface and a deep, 31.7m section grading 0.42% copper from 146m down-hole that included 13.7m @ 0.61% copper from 164m
According to the company, the new deeper zones of copper mineralisation identified at Dasher were below the limits of the existing mineral resource defined at the prospect and were an unexpected surprise.
The new results suggest that more mineralised zones exist in the region and further drilling will be required to confirm the extent.
Caravel management said the discovery of the new, deeper copper zones at higher grades is a potentially significant development at Dasher and could add ore tonnages and lower the stripping ratio of any future open pit mining operation.
The drilling completed at Dasher in July 2018, was part of a work program undertaken by the company to test and update the existing resource models.
Drill core from the short campaign is also being used for geotechnical and metallurgical test work studies across the broader Caravel copper project deposits.
Another hole completed 200m to the south of the first hole at Dasher also returned wide, but lower-grade intersections of copper mineralisation, intersecting the same geological sequence, potentially extending the deposit limits even further.
Earlier this month, Caravel reported that it had intersected thick, higher-grade copper mineralisation at the Bindi Hinge zone, with the
results showing significantly wider zones and higher grades than had been previously modelled.
The continuity and extension of the ore zones from the recent drilling programs has increased the company’s confidence that sufficient tonnages may well exist at Caravel for a higher-grade start-up operation.
An updated mineral resource estimate for the project is due for completion in early 2019 and will no doubt be eagerly anticipated.
The new drill intersections are very significant for Caravel, as its 2016 mineral resource estimate and subsequent scoping study were modelled on a wide, single domain, lower grade copper mineralisation envelope that did not account for the higher-grade zones and new extensions now being delineated.
With a clear geological structural control now established for the higher-grade mineralisation at the 100%-owned Caravel project, the company has the potential to selectively mine the higher-grade zones and hence, start considering alternate development options for the deposit.
This could include extracting the higher-grade mineralisation earlier and perhaps stage the mine schedule to reduce upfront CAPEX with a smaller plant, thereby improving the economics by receiving earlier cash flows and enhancing the project’s overall NPV.
The new resource estimate will provide the basis for a revision of optimised open pit designs and mine planning timelines which will be used to evaluate project development options.
The current mineral resource estimate at the Caravel project is a serious 402 million tonnes grading 0.29% copper, which comprises the larger Bindi West, Bindi Hinge and Bindi East deposits and the satellite ore systems located at Dasher and Opie further south.
Caravel also looks like joining the wave of ASX listed companies who are taking advantage of significant increases in ore sorting technology to upgrade their mineral resources.
The company recently completed very successful ore sorting trials on the lower grade zones within the deposits, which provides a significant and relatively cheap opportunity to upgrade the uneconomic copper ores and may represent a later expansion option for the project.
This project is unusual in so much as the grades are modest but the previous scoping study still produced some very lucrative numbers based on a sublime stripping ratio and the excellent metallurgy.
It will be interesting to see just how the discovery of these new, very wide high grade zones impacts the previous scoping study that was already very impressive.