American West’s West Desert deposit in Utah is looking more attractive than ever with the maiden JORC resource showing a 44% increase in zinc metal over previous non-JORC resource.

The company has defined an Indicated and Inferred Resource of 33.7 million tonnes grading 3.83% zinc, 0.15% copper and 9 grams per tonne (g/t) silver, or a contained resource of 1.3Mt of zinc, 49,000t of copper and 10Moz of silver.

Significantly, about 81% of the resource is contained within the higher confidence “Indicated” category, which provides sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

There is also plenty of potential for American West Metals (ASX:AW1) to expand this resource given that indium has not been included due to data gaps in historical drilling along with the potential for iron ore recovery in the foreign 2014 resource estimate.

Additionally, the newly identified high-grade ‘Copper Zone’, where drilling returned results such as 17.22m grading 1.04% copper, 0.58g/t gold and 12.46g/t silver from a down-hole depth of 325.21m, has not being included in the resource.

This is potentially very substantial given that the zone remains open along strike and at depth.

Managing director Dave O’Neill said the resource estimate was a very significant milestone that exceeded the company’s expectations in terms of delivering resource confidence and growth.

“This is a fantastic outcome for the company and highlights the significant development potential of the project. The scale and quality of the resource suggests the potential for a globally significant mining operation,” he added.

“West Desert is well located for future development and has received strong support from the local and federal government. The large resources and exciting growth opportunities at West Desert demonstrate the outstanding value of the project.”

Maiden resource

The resource consists of two parts, a 18.7Mt portion grading 2.8% zinc, 0.12% copper and 11g/t silver contained within the open pit opportunity and a higher grade underground component of 15Mt at 5.2% zinc, 0.18% copper and 7g/t gold in close proximity to the open pit.

It does not include the historical estimates and economic studies which demonstrated that a large quantity of indium – some 54Moz – is contained within the West Desert project.

American West’s recent drilling has also demonstrated that significant volume of indium is present within both the zinc and copper rich mineralisation at West Desert though it decided against its inclusion due to the absence of indium assays in some of the historical drill holes.

It will undertake a resampling program on historical core and assay pulps to fill in the historical sampling and data gaps.

The company has also completed early stage mining and mineral processing studies that show that a phased mining approach combining open pit and underground scenarios is likely to be the most appropriate way to mine the ores.




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.