Key points:

  • The initial desktop review identified several excellent Cu-Co anomalies with best results 18% Cu and 0.09% Co in the tenure neighbourhood;
  • Notably, within the tenure, significant Co mineralised zones were detected, generating early targets for the maiden drilling program; and
  • Work on generating a JORC compliant Inferred Resource for Cu-Co will commence immediately post the drilling campaign – most likely during 1H 2018.

The Mt Oxide Project includes three tenements.

Mt Oxide Project, Queensland

Exploration Rationale: Highly prospective for cobalt mineralisation

The Mt Oxide Project, which includes two contiguous tenements, is located in the exciting Mt Isa region, northwest Queensland. The tenure is within close proximity of the historic Mt Oxide Copper Mine and two active Cu-Au explorers, Mt Oxide Pty Ltd and Capricorn Copper Pty Ltd; the latter is in the process of restarting the Mt Gordon/Gunpowder Copper Mine. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines has reported that Co is associated with Cu in brecciated sediment-hosted base metal deposits in northwest Queensland including Mount Isa, Mammoth and Mount Cobalt.

A new exploration tenure adjacent to the Mt Oxide Project has been acquired by privately-held, Cobalt X Pty Ltd. This group have applied for a small mining lease covering Co-Cu-Ni-Zn-Pb-Au-U ore. The targets are Cu-Au-Co ore bodies in the Esperanza / Surprise Creek Formations of the McNamara Group and the Whitworth Quartzite of Upper Myally Sub-Group in the Mount Isa Orogen.

The Mount Isa orebodies contain circa 0.14% Cu in both the Cu-Ag-Pb-Zn ores. Refining recovers <1,000 t of Co per annum, but ~10,000 tpa of Co is associated with pyrite and is discarded in tailings. Various processes have been investigated for economic recovery of the metal, but none have proved viable. Co production from Mount Isa was reported up until June 2005.

Within the tenure neighbourhood, anomalous copper results up to 18.4% have been recorded and 924ppm for cobalt in select mineralisation structures. For instance, to place this in context, Aditya Birla Minerals Ltd announced an Indicated Resource of 11.5Mt at 2.7% Cu and 5.7% Co for the Mammoth orebody, while Cudeco’s Rocklands prospect near Cloncurry contains Inferred Resources of 25Mt at 1.57% Cu and 818ppm Co.

Local geology

At Mt Oxide and Mt Gordon the two main orebodies are manifest as a breccia and replacement zones associated with interconnecting faults. The Mt Gordon Mammoth deposit is hosted by brittle quartzites, whereas the Esperanza Deposit is hosted by carbonaceous shales. Mineralisation is associated with the Isan Orogeny, while primary sulphides in both deposits include chalcopyrite, pyrite and chalcocite.