Native Mineral Resources is building confidence that an extensive copper system may lurk beneath its Leane’s prospect in Queensland. Shallow drilling at Leane’s has tested the near-surface, skarn-style copper mineralisation, with deeper diamond holes probing for a porphyry feeder system at depth returning broad intervals of disseminated sulphides, including chalcopyrite with assays for several drill holes due in the coming weeks.
Native Mineral Resources has posted a big win this week with drilling at its Palmerville project in Queensland building the confidence that an extensive copper system lurks beneath its Leane’s prospect. The company has completed more than 960 metres of drilling at Leane’s, with five shallow reverse circulation holes testing the presence of near-surface, skarn-style copper mineralisation. A further two reverse circulation and two diamond holes were drilled to test for a porphyry feeder system below the mineralised skarn.
Shallow drilling has confirmed the presence of a hydrothermal breccia system along the contact between sediments and limestones of the Chilligoe Formation. Interestingly, all the drill holes encountered breccia style mineralisation, with “in-field” checks utilising a hand-held x-ray fluorescence analyser providing further evidence of anomalous copper mineralisation.
The deeper drilling program also intersected breccia mineralisation in the upper sections of the holes, with the lower sections in the diamond drilling encountering both porphyry fragments and veins, in addition to disseminated sulphides. The sulphide mineralisation in the drill core is estimated to run at up to 5 per cent of the total mass and includes the all-important copper sulphide, chalcopyrite.
Native Mineral Resources Managing Director, Blake Cannavo said: “Our initial drilling program at the Leane’s Copper Prospect has validated our exploration model and exceeded our expectations. In a short space of time, we have been able to confirm the presence of a shallow hydrothermal breccia system and diamond drilling has indicated the strong potential for a larger intrusive system to be located at depth.”
“Every hole completed so far has intersected breccia with elevated copper grades, and assays from the first three holes have confirmed copper grades of 0.29 per cent associated with the breccia which is very encouraging.”
“The first diamond drillhole, LDD001, intersected porphyry veins suggesting the presence of a larger intrusive system below the breccia zone. Due to the onset of the wet season our team has suspended drilling and planning is now well advanced to resume drilling at Leane’s following cessation of the wet season. In the interim, we are waiting to receive the remaining assays from RC and diamond drilling which we expect to arrive in late December / early January.”
Native Mineral’s Palmerville project is located in north Queensland, approximately 200km west-northwest of the regional coastal centre of Cairns. The project extends across a strike of more than 130km hosting the base metal-rich Chilligoe Formation and covers around 1,820 square kilometres of the fertile mineral field.
The company’s Leane’s prospect is located in the centre of the project area and is modelled to be a deeper porphyry copper-gold system which is overlain by a brecciated, copper-rich skarn. Mineralisation at Leane’s can be traced over more than 1,000m of strike, with exploration set to further test the extents of the prospect area as systematic drill testing of the target stratigraphy kicks off early next year.
Native Mineral’s exploration model at Leane’s was devised following a study of existing skarn and porphyry systems in the Chilligoe district, including the nearby Red Dome and Mungana deposits.
The company has received results from the sampling of the first three shallow drill holes, with assays of up to 0.29 per cent copper in the weathered zone. Samples from the final six drill holes are currently in the laboratory and are expected to be available in the new year.
The recently completed drilling at Leane’s appears to confirm the original discovery holes drilled in 2010, which returned intervals of 28m at 0.55 per cent copper and 11m at 0.32 per cent copper.
The tremendous potential of porphyry copper-gold deposits has recently captured the market’s attention in the wake of Alkane Resources’ Boda discovery in NSW and the emergence of Hot Chili’s world-class Costa Fuego project on the south coast of Chile, which is also growing in size and stature.
While Native Mineral’s drilling in Queensland may temporarily be on hold as a weather system blows through, the company can still look forward to a flow of assay results from the recent exploration program at Palmerville.
With visual copper sulphides in the drill core, Native Minerals will no doubt be champing at the bit to jump back into diamond drilling Leane’s and potentially bring to light Australia’s newest porphyry copper discovery early in the new year.
Native Minerals is barely a month into its life as a listed company however it is yet to put a foot wrong. A program of works for 2021 is in the design phase and it will be interesting to see how the next 12 months unfold and whether this budding explorer can live up to the building hype.
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