Austral has its eye on increasing its copper cathode production and is forming a strategic collaboration with Glencore to supercharge production.

Under the agreement, the two parties will form a steering committee to negotiate formal, binding documentation with a view to agreeing on and progressing a drilling program to explore Glencore’s Lady Loretta Mining Lease about 100m northeast of Austral’s Lady Annie Mining Lease in Queensland.

It follows on from Glencore sharing exceptional oxide drill results of up to 17m grading 2.51% copper from a down-hole depth of 54m in hole XLAT-17 on its tenure.

Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) believes the results indicate that there is a high probability that it could expand the existing resource at Lady Annie, which could in turn deliver increased copper cathode production.

The company has long thought that the Lady Annie mineralising system extends into Lady Loretta as both mining leases share the same highly anomalous surface geochemistry and continuation of faults, which serve to control mineralisation.



Boundary between Lady Annie and Lady Loretta with Glencore drill hole locations. Pic: Supplied (AR1)

Drilling is currently underway across its tenements with 43 holes totalling 3,512m drilled to 24 May 2023 at the Lady Annie, McLeod’s Hill, Mt Kelly SE, and Swagman Extended targets, which have collectively extended the copper oxide potential at Lady Annie.

“Austral has been working collectively with Glencore on numerous opportunities to monetise some of our joining tenure,” managing director Dan Jauncey said.

“Our April 2023 announcement on re-optimising Lady Annie pit certainly shows oxides extending through into the Lady Loretta mining lease.

“After working closely with Glencore over the last 4 years and forming an understanding that there are synergies in working together, this certainly makes for a win-win for both parties.”

He added that Glencore’s drill results are highly encouraging as they are located close to the company’s mining lease.

Lady Annie drilling and additional resources

Austral also noted that drilling at Lady Annie has returned some significant results with hole LANC0509, which tested remnant oxide copper extending east of the Lady Annie pit, intersecting visible malachite over several metres with a best result of 8m at 0.4% copper from 78m.

Meanwhile, hole LANC0513 that tested oxide copper extending west from the pit which has not been closed off by prior drilling intersected 10m at 0.99% copper from 50m including 5m at 1.65% copper from 50m.

The company has also reported that a Whittle optimisation study carried out by independent consultant CSA Global that applied a $12,500t copper price to previously mined pits had identified a potential additional 30,000t of contained copper in oxide and transitional Mineral Resources.

These resources are contained within the Lady Annie, Lady Brenda, Mount Clark, and Flying Horse deposits, which can be mined using its existing processing hub.

As the next step in developing these oxide and sulphide resources at Lady Annie, the company will investigate relevant geotechnical and hydrological parameters.

It will also carry out further required detailed mine design, sequencing of cutbacks and scheduling with a detailed review of all input parameters including a penalty for calcium content in the material assigned to Heap Leach.

Austral produced 2,818t of copper in the March 2023 quarter from its Anthill operation, which generated net revenue of $35.55m and operating cash flow of $13.6m.



This article was developed in collaboration with Austral Resources, 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