American West Metals will begin drilling at its high grade Storm copper project in Canada, planning to sink 10,000m as it weighs up the option to export direct shipping ore from the project in north Canada.

Located on Somerset Island in Nunavut near its Seal zinc prospect, American West (ASX:AW1) is planning to focus on resource definition and expansion of its near surface, high-grade copper mineralisation across Storm and several other prospects.

It will follow up the major discovery of a sediment hosted copper system at Storm last year, with surface geophysics also planned to start during March at Storm, as well as the underexplored Blizzard, Tornado and Tempest prospect areas.

A reverse circulation drill rig will join two diamond drill rigs that are already onsite.

RC rigs are efficient at low cost, high volume drilling to 200m below surface, making them ideal for the delivery of resource definition.

Recent drilling at the 2750N Zone has highlighted the continuity of the copper zones at Storm, with near surface mineralisation remaining a focus for resource drilling due to its high grades, shallow nature and potential to provide a significant resource base for an initial low-cost, open-pit mining scenario.

American West managing director Dave O’Neill said the 2023 program would be “significantly expanded” from its 2022 maiden drilling campaign, with the March geophysics to be followed by the 10,000m drill drive.

“The 2022 drilling program at Storm was a huge success with the expansion of the mineralised footprint of the 2750N Zone and the discovery of a new – potentially very large – sedimentary copper system below the near surface mineralisation,” he said.

“The drilling this year will build on that work by targeting extensions to the 2750N Zone, evaluating the potential of other highly prospective near surface occurrences of high-grade copper, and testing the large, sedimentary copper targets.

“There are numerous underexplored targets within the 120km strike length of the mineralised trend at Storm.

“The expansion of the exploration into these areas along this trend will aim to demonstrate the belt scale opportunity that we believe exists at the project. The Tempest area is particularly exciting as it hosts a large copper gossan with rock chips up to 32% copper.”


Also exciting is the continuation of AW1’s investigations into potential DSO shipments from Storm.

The method has been used in copper mining elsewhere, with Sandfire Resources famously generating early revenue by direct shipping extremely high-grade, near-surface ore in the early days of its DeGrussa mine.

Beneficiation and metallurgical test work on drill core from the 2022 field season will create a definitive processing flow sheet for the DSO product, with previous test work on these ore types producing a more than 53% copper DSO product with only an ore sorter.

Meanwhile a permitting roadmap is underway for the development of a DSO mine development.

Environmental baseline studies are due to start in the second quarter on Storm and a newly defined transport corridor between Storm and the coast.

Expanding exploration

The high-resolution geophysical surveys to start during March will involve a closely spaced ground gravity survey and moving/fixed loop EM surveys.

They will both cover the known prospects at Storm to better define the existing Falcon airborne gravity and FLEM targets, and extend into new, previously untested areas with the aim of expanding the prospective footprint of copper mineralisation.

New areas include Blizzard, Tornado and Tempest, around 40km to the south of Storm containing a large copper gossan exposed at surface delivering the aforementioned 32% sample grade.

The location and distance from Storm highlight the extensive nature of the prospective copper horizon within the project area.

Previous exploration has identified high grade copper at the 2750N, 2200N and 3500N Zones at Storm, with a discovery in hole ST22-10 suggesting a large sediment hosted style copper deposit could exist below near surface discoveries.

But the interpretation of the geochemical and geological data from ST22-10 indicates it has intersected what could just be the margins of a mineralised system, supported by a series of coincident electromagnetic, IP and gravity anomalies over 5km long associated with the blind 4100N Zone to the north of the 2750N Zone.

AW1 says the other near surface copper occurrences at Storm are associated with large geophysical anomalies, “which further supports the potential association between the two types of mineralisation”.

Historical drilling at 4100N, covering mineralisation at least 1000m by 400m open to the north, east and west, includes intersections like 15m at 3.88% Cu from 72.4m, 4.8m at 3.7% Cu and 5.8m at 3.6% Cu, with 17 holes drilled at spacings of 100-200m all encountering copper mineralisation.

It and the 2200N Zone will be the immediate focuses outside the main 2750N Zone.

Located near the Seal zinc project and featuring 120km of strike with high grade intersections such as 110m at 2.45% Cu from surface and 56.3m at 3.07% Cu from 12.2m, AW1 has an option to earn an 80% interest in the Storm project.




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.