New studies at Myanmar Metals’ remarkable Bawdwin deposit in Myanmar, already ranked as one of the world’s best lead-zinc-silver deposits, have revealed a high-grade copper zone with almost 120,000 tonnes of the red metal in-situ. The studies have shown a new copper-rich resource of 3.4 Mt @ 3.12% copper, based largely on historical data and raises hopes of substantial additional discoveries from modern exploration.
Myanmar Metals revival of the historic Bawdwin lead-zinc-silver deposit in Myanmar has produced a hefty copper bonus even before the first assays are in from the company’s maiden drill program.
A new desk top analysis of the distribution of metals at Bawdwin, which was never mined for copper throughout its long history, has identified a high-grade copper resource containing almost 120,000 tonnes of copper, most of which is going over 3% copper.
The Perth-based explorer, backed by revered local “prospector” Mark Creasy, snapped up an option over 85% of the historic Bawdwin mine last July, about 160 kms from China on the highway from Mandalay to Yunnan.
The mine was one of the richest in the British Empire, with about 500,000 tonnes of polymetallic ore extracted annually from the Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide or “VMS” style deposit in the 1920s and 1930s.
Historic grades at Bawdwin were spectacular at around 23% lead, 14% zinc, 1% copper and 540 grams per tonne silver.
Bawdwin has never been mined or explored for copper, however new studies by CSA Global for Myanmar Metals have revealed that copper could be an economic target in its own right.
The impressive copper tonnage is based largely on extensive historic channel sampling of underground exploration cross cuts, supported by diamond drilling and new channel samples undertaken last year by Win Myint Mo Industries, which has granted the option to Myanmar Metals.
Not surprisingly, Myanmar believes there is substantial potential to increase the high-grade copper resource, raising the possibility of a redevelopment that produces a separate stream of copper concentrate.
The discovery of the high-grade copper domain has led to a new JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate by CSA Global of 76.9 Mt at 4.6% lead, 2.3% zinc, 0.24% copper and 118 g/t silver in the inferred category.
This includes the new copper-rich resource of 3.4 Mt at 3.12% copper, 5.7% lead, 2.8% zinc and 182 g/t silver within the 0.5% lead envelope.
It also includes 0.5 Mt at 2.3% copper, 0.3% lead, 0.6% zinc and 56 g/t silver outside the lead envelope.
Myanmar Metals chairman, John Lamb, said: “The identification of a coherent, high-grade copper domain within the broader lead-zinc-silver deposit is an exciting development, giving the company great additional potential flexibility to model and deliver an additional concentrate stream of this valuable metal.”
"Bawdwin continues to deliver to the upside with outstanding results from our ongoing and strongly focused drilling and test work programs. This latest development is another example of Bawdwin’s outstanding mineral endowment and is further testament to its world-class status. As we progress with drilling and other test work, Bawdwin continues to reveal its secrets: we are witnessing the awakening of the Tiger.”
Myanmar Metals has already completed a scoping study that confirmed potential for a technically and financially robust open pit operation, with a low strip ratio and a depth of just 250 metres. Furthermore, a subsequent benchmarking study by Terra Studio concluded that Bawdwin was among the world’s best lead-zinc-silver deposits.
A 5,000-metre diamond and RC drilling program began in January to upgrade the upper portion of the resource from the inferred to indicated Jorc 2012 status.
Results will begin to fly in over coming weeks and they will be combined with a full-suite of re-assays from last year’s drilling, to shed more light on Bawdwin’s copper potential.
The company is also looking to further explore the distribution of nickel and cobalt at the project. Historically, Bawdwin also produced a nickel product in economic quantities, which suggests there could be yet more surprises yest to come from this remarkable historic deposit.