The exploration spotlight swings back on to Stavely Minerals (ASX:SVY) in coming days with the expected release of latest drill results from its Thursday’s Gossan copper-gold discovery in the Stavely volcanic belt in western Victoria.

Shares in Stavely rocketed in September last year when the first hole in a new shallow-focused drilling program at Thursday’s Gossan — immediately southeast of earlier deep drilling — assayed up to 40 per cent copper.

The spectacular hit was made in a diamond drill hole that specifically targeted shallow and structurally controlled mineralisation within the Ultramafic Contact Fault (UCF).

The drill hole returned a 32m intersection which assayed 5.88 per cent copper, 1 gram per tonne (g/t) gold and 58g/t silver from 62m down-hole, including 12m at 14.3 per cent copper, 2.26g/t gold and 145g/t silver, and 2m at 40 per cent copper, 3g/t gold and 517g/t silver.

Stavely shares took off in response, rocketing from 24c to as high as $1.42 in October. The shares have since drifted back to 71c, valuing the May 2014 initial public offering at $151m, making it one of the most successful exploration IPOs in recent years.


Stavely now has four drill rigs spinning at the project, about 250km to the west of Melbourne and near the town of Glenthompson, and the market in the stock is hungry for fresh drilling results from the discovery.

There was a clue in Stavely’s December quarterly report, released on January 30, that more drilling results would be released by about now, with the company saying core from five drill holes was in the lab being assayed.

Stavely has now hit mineralisation on three structures — the UCF, the North-South structure, and another called the Copper-Lode splay. Drilling is now in the early stages of a drill-out targeting shallow mineralisation on the UCF as part of a five-pronged strategy.

Stavely executive chairman Chris Cairns outlined the strategy at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle last Tuesday.

The goal is to complete the shallow resources drill out, define the mineralisation on the UCF below the Low Angle Structure, extend the mineralisation on the Copper Lode from 500-600m towards the surface, extend the mineralisation of the North-South structure from 800-900m towards the surface, and target regional exploration opportunities.

So while the results to be released shortly will be of great interest, there will be some patience required by investors as the company sets about unlocking the full upside of the discovery beyond the initial excitement over the high-grade shallow mineralisation.

Cairns was back at the RIU conference on Wednesday to collect the coveted annual Craig Oliver Award for a small to mid-cap resources company deemed to have excelled in all areas.

It is named after the late Sundance Resources and Western Areas director Craig Oliver, who died in a Congo plane crash in June 2010. The tragic crash claimed 11 lives, including the entire Sundance board.

In his acceptance speech, Cairns announced that UFC at Thursday’s Gossan had been renamed the Cayley Lode in honour of Geological Survey of Victoria’s senior geologist, and super-keen supporter of all things geological in the state, Ross Cayley.

Cairns also said that he believed Stavely was on its way to unlocking what would “become one of Australia’s next great copper provinces.”

Earlier he told Garimpeiro that “we have only scratched the surface in terms of the potential, given we have only been working on the very shallowest portions of three demonstrably mineralised structures”.

He noted that the potential for a bulk-tonnage porphyry copper-gold system at depth below the known mineralised structures remained a potential prize.

“It’s a big potential prize in that those structures must all be tapping into a metal source, and we are convinced that there is a nice porphyry driving this system,” Cairns said.

“So that remains a nice target down the track as we first flesh out the structurally controlled mineralisation which should give us a vector to where the deep porphyry source is, and we will have a crack at that when we are ready.