30/09/2021 - 15:52

West Cobar set to hit the ASX with NSW copper gold assets

30/09/2021 - 15:52


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West Cobar Metals is set to pocket $5.5 million when it hits the boards at the ASX today and the rods are already primed to start turning at its exciting Bulla Park and Mt Jack copper-gold projects in and around the prolific Cobar basin of NSW. Initially the company is looking to drill test two enticing looking targets that were unexpectedly abandoned in historical drilling.

West Cobar Metals is set to list on the ASX with drilling at its Bulla Park copper project in the Cobar Basin of NSW to commence soon. Credit: File

West Cobar Metals is set to pocket $5.5 million when it hits the boards at the ASX today and the rods are already primed to start turning at its exciting Bulla Park and Mt Jack copper-gold projects in and around the prolific Cobar basin of NSW. Initially the company is looking to drill test two enticing looking targets that have been developed from historical drilling.

West Cobar’s Bulla Park tenure takes in two granted exploration licences and another two licence applications combining for 518 square kilometres.

The Bulla Park project lies some 110 kilometres west of the town of Cobar in central New South Wales.

The company is targeting a stratabound copper deposit at Bulla Park, similar in style to Rio Tinto’s heralded Winu copper discovery in the Paterson region of Western Australia.

Bulla Park has seen some limited historical exploration including six diamond holes drilled by Sandfire Resources in 2018 that targeted previously identified geophysical and gravity anomalies.

According to West Cobar, the drill intersections to date suggest Bulla Park could host a substantial copper and silver mineralised system in the western part of the Cobar Basin, highlighting the previously unrecognised potential of the region.

The company has identified a possible strike length of at least 12km for the mineralised copper zone which has so far only been intersected on its margins by four drill holes.

The best hit to date consists of a very wide 135-metre interval going 0.24 per cent copper, including 33m at 0.45 per cent copper and 4 grams per tonne silver.

More than 100m up dip another 120m intercept delivered a lower grade of 0.16 per cent copper.

Notably, the grades appear to be increasing down dip in a south-westerly direction and the company has a theory that if it tests the modelled extensions down dip and far enough along strike it will eventually find the ‘cauldron’, or the source of the mineralisation – and that’s where it will higher grade material.

With mineralised widths like 120m and 135m, West Cobar is clearly in a big system and if it can add some grade to the equation, it will be off to the races. The fact that the grades already appear to be increasing down dip in the historic holes is encouraging and the company will now step out by about 400m down dip of the last historic hole drilled to test the theory.

West Cobar has modelled two mineralised horizons at Bulla Park running down dip – a smaller one and then a much larger one below that.

Historic drilling by Sandfire in the deepest section of the modelled horizons only pierced the smaller horizon and the hole stopped prior to penetrating the deeper interpreted zone.

Enter West Cobar who has interprested a much larger mineralised horizon below that, tantalisingly close to where the Sandfire hole was stopped in 2020.

The company plans to drill a diamond hole to 530m depth now, some 400m along down dip from Sandfire’s 135m copper hit, as it vectors towards higher grade mineralisation.

In total, West Cobar has foreshadowed five holes at 400m spacings down dip and along strike of the historic diamond drill holes and if there is any grade going on down there, that program should find it.

Curiously, lead mineralisation has also been identified beneath the copper zone which has not been drill tested at depth. The lead mineralisation consists of galena which reportedly also hosts some silver.

The company has identified another drill target some 8km away at the Mountain prospect where a geochemical anomaly has also been outlined.

Stream sediment sampling at the broader Bulla Park tenure has defined a geochemical anomaly at the Coomeratta South prospect, some 40km to the south.

Amazingly, West Cobar believes the target strike length at Bulla Park could stretch for more than 50km.

Copper was first discovered at Cobar in 1869 with mining commencing the following year at what became the Great Cobar mine - one of the largest mining and processing operations in the world at the time.

With a 150-year history of mining, the region has become one of Australia’s most prominent mineral districts having produced significant amounts of copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold along the eastern sector of the mighty Cobar Basin.

Today, the district continues to be a major copper producer with Anglo-Swiss mining giant, Glencore churning out some 50,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates each year from the CSA mine, located some 11km north-west of Cobar.

CSA is one of Australia’s longest operating copper mines with a history stretching back to the 1870s. According to Glencore, CSA is the second deepest copper mine in Australia at 1.75km below surface. It is the second highest grade copper mine in Australia too and the fourth highest grade copper mine in the world with ore grading at between five per cent and 12 per cent copper.

Other prominent mining operations on the eastern side of the Cobar Basin include the underground Endeavor zinc, lead and silver mine, 46km north of Cobar, where about 30 million tonnes of ore have been mined since 1983.

The eastern margin of the Cobar Basin also plays host to the Cobar Gold Field where more than three million ounces of gold and 200,000 tonnes of copper have been produced since 1870.

Whilst the eastern part of the Cobar Basin is embedded in Australian mining folklore, the western margin of this geological wonderland has remained largely untapped.

About 100km further to the north-west, the company has another intriguing play going on at what it calls its Mt Jack copper gold project.

Management is planning one diamond drill hole to test a modelled geophysical magnetic body at the 62 sq. km project.

A 2006 ground magnetic survey at Mount Jack, conducted by Minotaur Exploration, identified a decent looking  ‘bullseye’ anomaly showing features akin to ‘Cobar style’ base metal and gold mineralisation.

A single hole drilled by Minotaur to test the anomaly was abandoned at 162m depth due to mechanical problems. The hole failed to reach the modelled target located at about 200m below surface and the question of a lurking mineralised monster from 200m remained unanswered. 

Interestingly, the final 42m of the hole intersected a cobble and boulder conglomerate that returned anomalous gold and copper including 1m at 0.29 g/t gold and 386 parts per million copper, a tantalising tell-tale sign that something might be down there.

West Cobar believes the elevated copper and gold at the bottom of that hole could be due to upwards leakage from a mineralised system at deeper levels where the magnetic body was modelled.

The company plans to drill test that magnetic target later this year and the results of that campaign will no doubt have the market meerkats sitting bolt upright.

South-west of Mount Jack lies the company’s early-stage Cawkers Well sediment hosted gold project consisting of one granted exploration licence and one licence application.

Covering some 154 sq. kms, the under explored project hosts north-west trending magnetic structures with a combined strike length of about 50km.

The company believes gold mineralisation there could be related to the structures that coincide with a gold in soil anomaly grading more than 10 parts per billion gold.

The target structures have only been tested by three historical drill holes where two intercepts returned 18m at 0.22 g/t gold from 135m and 8m at 0.84 g/t gold from 170m.

West Cobar plans to conduct geological mapping and aeromagnetic surveys at Cawkers Well to better define targets for drill testing next year.

To the north of Mount Jack, the company has also identified a conceptual geophysical target with no previous drilling history at its 176 sq. km Nantilla copper and gold project.

Intriguingly, the geophysical target reportedly shows some similarities to the geophysical anomalies hosting polymetallic mineralisation in the east Cobar basin.

Aeromagnetic and ground gravity surveys are on the cards for Nantilla early next year.

Depending on results of the surveys, West Cobar plans to drill test Cawkers Well and delelop drill targets at Nantilla in the first quarter of next year.

Copper is a common feature in modern life with wide ranging applications in advanced electronics and electricity generation. It could also play a starring role in the global transition to a zero emissions economy.

According to a recently commissioned research report by the Minerals Council of Australia, an association representing Australia’s mining sector, global demand for copper is set for a lift from 23.5Mt recorded in 2019 to some 31.1Mt by the end of the decade.

The growing appetite for the metal is largely driven by the global shift to electric vehicles which consume four times more copper than conventional internal combustion engines.

Incredibly, further research by multinational investment bank and financial services company, Goldman Sachs concluded the price of copper could reach a staggering US$15,000 per tonne by 2025, a hefty increase from current levels of about US$9,000 per tonne which already represents a price close to historical highs.

West Cobar could be heading into a perfect storm as it hunts for the next world class copper discovery just as the red metal starts to take its place centre stage in the burgeoning electric vehicle market.

West Cobar has plenty to go on with but the down dip hole at Bulla Bulla and the potential piercing of the heart of the bulls eye at Mt Jack are potential company makers if either play comes off – and it could happen quickly too with West Cobar set to hit the boards today at the ASX.


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




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