American West Metals is unlocking the “excellent resource growth potential” of its West Desert deposit after hitting 332m in a single hole of strong visual copper, zinc and molybdenum mineralization.

Visual mineralisation stood out in nine separate intervals at the high grade zinc-copper deposit in Utah in the USA, around 150km from Rio Tinto’s legendary Bingham Canyon mine.

Significantly, most of them are located outside the known resource.

Hole WD22-01C was drilled beneath previous hole WD22-01, where the distance between historical drilling in the section is greater than 90m, suggesting there’s plenty more zinc and copper to be found.

West Desert contains a large historical foreign resource of over 59Mt including a higher grade core of approximately 16.5Mt at 6.3% zinc, 0.3% copper and 33g/t indium.


Hits you can see

American West Metals (ASX:AW1) managing director Dave O’Neill, who is onsite in Utah, said the hole confirmed extensions to that mineralisation.

“We are very pleased to report that our second diamond drill hole has been successfully completed and has exceeded our expectations,” he said.

“The visual observations from WD22-01C show a total of 332m of mineralisation with nine main zones of zinc and copper within a mix of skarn and porphyry style mineralisation.

“The drill hole confirms the extensions to high value copper, zinc and molybdenum mineralisation in an underexplored part of the mineral system. The fact that these zones still remain open has huge implications for the growth potential for West Desert, particularly with regard to the quality and inventory of copper and molybdenite rich ores.

“It’s exciting to be here onsite overseeing the drilling in action. The technical team is justifiably excited by these results and the scale and quality of mineralisation here at West Desert.”

Clock it: Chalcopyrite rich magnetite skarn from WD22-01C. Pic: AW1


Semi-massive and copper rich

With copper prices touching record highs of US$10,000/t, AW1 is focused on increasing its copper inventory at West Desert, and the recent diamond drilling looks to be doing exactly that.

The 776m deep hole intersected copper rich zones about 365m down holes, including a 64m thick strike of zinc-copper skarn on the porphyry contact, the meeting point between two rocks where rich mineralisation is often found.

This intersection contained coarse-grained to massive sulphide mineralisation including a zone of semi-massive chalcopyrite between 418-427m downhole, which is just what you want to see when you’re on the hunt for the red metal.


American West struck nine separate mineralised intersections. Pic: AW1


It continues into the adjacent porphyry as chalcopyrite rich veins.

Another 59m interval with strong chalcopyrite and molybdenite dominant skarn was identified further down with the lower most interval including an incomplete zone with 36m of strong molybdenite, pyrite and quartz veining, similar to historical drilling within deeper porphyry zones at West Desert with molybdenum grade of up to 2.6%.


Incredibly, that could have gone further…

Yep. Only poor weather conditions and a loss of power stopped the hole at 776m where it ended in mineralisation.

It also suggests the mineralisation at West Desert could be related to a large underlying molybdenum rich porphyry system.

Those can be big.

AW1 Managing Director, Dave O’Neill (left) with onsite geological team members, Chris Poush and Ryan Livernois, inspecting drill core at West Desert. Pic: AW1


Zinc in tow

American West says the two shallowest mineralised intercepts in the drill hole, 47m and 42m thick, confirmed the delicious continuity of the upper zinc zones identified in the previous drill hole WD22-01.

Hole WD22-01C is the second diamond drill hole in a 7500m program drilling high grade zinc and copper zones along the porphyry-skarn contact at West Desert to convert its N43-101 resource into a JORC compliant mineral resource estimate and gather core for metallurgical test work.

A third hole has already started on the same section as the previous two. WD22-02 will be shallower and test the continuity of zinc-copper mineralization for an open pit development scenario.

There’s plenty to like in historical drilling, which has struck thick intervals of zinc-copper skarn with top tier grades of up to 32.6% zinc and 7.85% copper.

This is one to watch.


This article was developed in collaboration with American West Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.