20/04/2021 - 17:05

Silver steals the show at Eclipse NT discovery

20/04/2021 - 17:05


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Eclipse Metals is homing in on a potential high-grade, near-surface silver deposit at Rock Hill in the Northern Territory, with analysis of the historical exploration revealing the presence of a melting pot of metals including both copper and zinc. However, the star of the show looks to be silver with intercepts grading at an astounding 2,288 grams per tonne.

With silver trading at over US$25 an ounce, the semi-precious metal is increasingly becoming a store of wealth. Credit: File

Eclipse Metals is homing in on a potential high-grade, near-surface silver deposit at Rock Hill in the Northern Territory, with analysis of exploration data unearthing a horde of mineralised drill intercepts. Previous work over the prospect has revealed the presence of a melting pot of metals including both copper and zinc however, the star of the show looks to be silver.

Historical drilling at Rock Hill has returned intercepts grading at an astounding 2,288 grams per tonne silver or more than 70 ounces per tonne.

Better intercepts from the prospect include 30.5 metres at 455 g/t silver, which includes 3m at 2,288 g/t silver and a further 3m at 1,118 g/t silver from 33.5m whilst a nearby drill hole returned 3m at 1,420 g/t silver from only 6.1m down-hole.

The prospect also hosts not insignificant levels of copper, with deeper intercepts including 1.5m at 4.9 per cent copper and 35 g/t silver  from 71.3m and 1.5m at 3.2 per cent copper and 12 g/t silver from 54.9m

Work by Eclipse has now identified a mineralised trend at Rock Hill which appears to be around 2.5km wide and more 10km long, hosting an ensemble of prospects which potentially represent a pipeline of exploration targets.

The Rock Hill discovery sits within Eclipse’s Yuendi exploration lease application and is located approximately 300km north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The tenement application covers over 1,000 square kilometres of prospective stratigraphy in the enigmatic Arunta Block which has been the subject of only limited exploration.

Interestingly, the Rock Hill tenure sits just 20km south-east of Todd River Resources’ 2.6 million tonne Mt Hardy copper-zinc deposit grading at 6.7 per cent zinc, 0.9 per cent copper and 35 g/t silver, the combination of which suggests a larger deposit may lie hidden in the region.

In the wake of Rumble Resources’ recent lead-zinc discovery at Earaheedy in Western Australia, Eclipse’s unveiling of its own prospects in the NT is timely. Since making the discovery in WA earlier this month, Rumble’s share price has more than quadrupled, giving some indication of the market’s insatiable appetite for new base and precious metal discoveries.

Interestingly, silver has seen a dramatic increase in price since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, having shot up from US$15 per ounce in April 2020 to US$25 an ounce today. However, the semi-precious metal has been much higher in the last 10-years, trading as high as $45 per ounce in 2011 - a level it may yet regain in the not-too-distant future as silver expands its allure as both a technology metal and a store of wealth. Any further upside to silver prices can only add to the potential value of Eclipse’s Rock Hill discovery.

Rock Hill is one of the company’s more recent acquisitions and now forms part of the Eclipse’s massive Ngalia Basin project which was originally acquired for its uranium potential.

A desktop review of the company’s project highlights the scant amount of exploration that has been undertaken across the historic copper field in the last 50 years. Documents held by the NT Department of Mines showing a small tonnage of high-grade copper ore was extracted from the field in the 1960s, whilst the only significant exploration was completed by the NT Geological Survey, or “NTGS” in the 1970s.

The NTGS work program consisted of mapping, sampling and eight diamond drill holes across around 500m of strike along the main Rock Hill prospect returning the aforementioned intercepts. The tenure has yet to be tested utilising modern exploration techniques representing a blank canvas for future base and precious metal discoveries.

Eclipse is now seeking the appropriate native title and mines department approvals to commence exploration at Rock Hill whilst planning an airborne electromagnetic survey to identify priority targets for drill testing in the months ahead.

With the company now planning its next steps at Yuendi and first-pass drilling already divulging a wealth of mineralisation, Eclipse looks to have taken up a prime position in the Arunta Block.

Eclipse now has the challenge of delineating an extensive ore system at Rock Hill, however with initial studies indicating the silver-copper trend may extend over more than 10km of strike, the company looks to have plenty of runway to make significant discovery in this underexplored Northern Territory terrane. 


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


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