Barry FitzGerald: Refreshing its project pipeline is paying off for Rumble Resources
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Lots of junior explorers are guilty of falling in love with their exploration prospects.
Year after year, they will talk up the potential of the prospects and might even get around to drilling a couple of holes.
When the drilling doesn’t amount to much, they find reason to return to the same patch of ground the following field season, promoting the idea that the new drilling program will provide the breakthrough they and their long-suffering shareholders missed in the last campaign.
The strategy – if it is one – might pay off now and then. But a more appealing strategy for the investors’ buck is one where the exploration portfolio is continually being refreshed.
The idea is that if game-changing potential cannot be detected in an initial exploration program, the prospect gets moved on and the explorer’s pipeline of prospects is refreshed with something new.
It’s not a strategy for the lazy, and requires a deep knowledge by the board, management and the company’s consultants of just what opportunities are out there.
Apart from providing multiple avenues to a discovery capable of forcing a major re-rating, the strategy delivers one of the things investors in junior explorers demand – newsflow.
Today’s interest, Rumble Resources (ASX:RTR), trading at 7.4c for a market cap of $33 million, is an exponent of the prospect pipeline refreshment strategy.
While it has taken some time to develop some momentum, the strategy has set Rumble up for a big 2020 across more than half a dozen gold and base metals prospects.
It means that while the explorer’s Long Lake nickel prospect in Canada recently disappointed, there is a lot of newsflow to come from active programs in WA, either to Rumble’s own account, or in joint ventures.
That came through with last week’s announcement that drilling at the Earaheedy prospect (75 per cent Rumble, Zenith Minerals 25 per cent) north of Wiluna in WA had outlined two shallow and flat-lying sandstone-hosted zinc-lead-silver discoveries.
Rumble’s respected technical director Brett Keillor was happy to put his name to an “exploration target’’ at the property of 40 million tonnes (mt) to 100mt of 3.5 per cent — 4.5 per cent zinc-lead mineralisation.
The market didn’t get excited because of the grade. But it is actually a potential company maker because of the potential for low mining costs (because it is shallow and flat lying) and simple metallurgy (because it is of sandstone-hosted type).
So, it is one to watch as Rumble sets out to confirm the upside implied by the “exploration target.’’
But if that doesn’t float your boat, then Rumble needs to be watched in coming months on a bunch of other fronts.
First up there is the drilling program chasing high-grade gold shoots at the Western Queen gold project, north-west of Mt Magnet in WA.
As mentioned previously by Garimpeiro, Western Queen has similar DNA to Bellevue’s (ASX:BGL) namesake project and Spectrum’s (ASX:SPX) Penny West in that it was a high-grade producer in years gone by, with 840,000t mined at 7.8g/t for 210,000oz from two deposits.
Rumble’s drilling for high-grade shoot extensions got going in late November so first results can’t be far off.
The company’s Lamil copper/gold joint venture in WA’s Paterson province is another to watch. AIC Minerals is farming into the project where an airborne magnetic survey has identified a major domal structure like that which hosts Newcrest’s Telfer gold-copper mine some 30kms to the northeast.
Down in the Fraser Range, the exciting gold discovery at the Thunderstorm prospect is earmarked for follow-up work managed by Rumble’s joint venture partner, IGO (ASX:IGO).
Other prospects in Rumble’s portfolio to watch include the follow up drilling program at the Munarra Gully copper-gold-cobalt project to the northeast of Cue and follow up drilling at Braeside/Barramine project in the Pilbara.