• Visual copper sulphides in early drilling at the Cyclone and Lightning Ridge prospects will bolster AW1’s confidence it can grow its Storm resource in Canada
  • Located in frontier territory on Nunavut’s Somerset Island, Storm contains a maiden resource of 17.5Mt at 1.2% copper and 3.4g/t silver for 205,000t Cu and 1.9Moz Ag
  • AW1 says assay results on almost 3500m of drilling from a 20,000m summer campaign are on their way


Special Report: After announcing a landmark maiden copper resource at its Storm project in Canada in January, American West Metals has already demonstrated the potential to find new copper occurrences at the closely watched Nunavut deposit just 30 holes into a summer drill program.

Located in the remote climes of Somerset Island off the coast of the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut, Storm is one of the most intriguing copper discoveries globally, opening a new VMS province in an underexplored domain.

The initial Storm resource contained 205,000t of copper and 1.9Moz of silver, 30% of it already in the higher confidence indicated category, with a total inventory of 17.5mt of ore at 1.2% Cu and 3.4g/t Ag.

Given the seasons up there, drilling is largely confined to summer months and American West Metals (ASX:AW1)  latest campaign appears to have started with a bang, or perhaps more appropriately a crash of thunder.

4450m have already been completed, with 30 RC holes drilled so far and diamond drilling now underway.

16 drillholes at Lightning Ridge and Cyclone, the former one of two prospects where AW1 is hoping to add additional discoveries on top of resource upgrades and extensions at the Cyclone and Chinook deposits, have already returned visual copper sulphides across all holes.

Visual interpretations of drilling at Thunder, the other non-resource prospect, and Chinook are still pending.


Reverse circulation drilling has kicked off at the Storm project. Pic: AW1


What does that mean?

Visual sulphide occurrences are no substitute for assays, the only way to determine true metal content of a mineralised intercept.

But where there’s smoke there’s fire and copper minerals are typically easy to identify in visual observations of drill core and rock chips.

Hole SR24-014 intersected a combined total of 30.5m of visual copper sulphide mineralisation from 57.9m downhole in three discrete zones

Hole SR24-016 picked up 21.3m in three main zones from 38.1m, including a 5m stretch from 44m which looked very strongly mineralised.

That’s taken Lightning Ridge to a defined strike of 150m, with obvious potential to extend that further.

Cyclone, which already hosts around 150,000t of copper metal and over 1.4Moz of silver, has also returned long portions of copper sulphide mineralisation, with 13 drill holes all showing up hints of the red metal.

That includes 32m from 85.3m deep in a hole drilled 80m south-west of the deposit and thick intervals at holes SR24-011 and SR24-013 in the southern part of the resource envelope.

“We are very pleased to provide an update on the Storm drilling program which is gaining strong momentum. More than 4450m and 30 drill holes have now been completed since drilling resumed earlier this month, highlighting the exceptional productivity of the Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling rigs,“ AW1 MD Dave O’Neill said.

“We have received the visual results for sixteen of the recently completed drill holes and every drill hole has hit visual copper sulphides. This success rate is similar to [what] was achieved during last year’s drilling program, demonstrating the excellent consistency of copper mineralisation.

“The drilling in and around the Cyclone Deposit continues to highlight the continuity and growth potential of the resource with every drill hole to date intersecting thick intervals of visual copper sulphides. Drilling to the southwest of the deposit, and outside of the known copper resource, has intersected a thick interval of very strong copper sulphides.”

O’Neill said it’s exactly what AW1’s exploration geos want to see to expand the known resource once assays filter through.

“The initial resource definition drilling at Lightning Ridge has extended the envelope of the known copper mineralisation and confirmed the geometry of the high-grade copper zones,” he said.

“The drilling demonstrates that there is significant potential to convert the 2023 discoveries into resources which will help to quickly grow the copper endowment of Storm.

“We will continue to provide regular updates as the drilling program and other exploration activities progress.”


What comes next?

The current drill program is continuing with two reverse circulation rigs and one diamond drill rig, with AW1 planning to churn through 20,000m of core by the end of the season.

Assays were already received for five exploratory RC holes at the Gap prospect, which returned a highlight result of 20m at 2.3% copper from 38m including 8m at 5.3% Cu and 3m at 7% Cu.

The infill holes hitting visual copper at Cyclone, including semi-massive sulphides, highlighted the continuity potential of the mineralisation at AW1’s primary deposit.

Meanwhile, extensional drilling has also confirmed the potential to grow the resource beyond to the south-west, east and north.

Lightning Ridge, where visual sulphides have also been found, previously delivered a strike in a discovered hole of 30.4m at 2.1% Cu and 5.4g/t Ag.

Assays for 3460m of drilling have already been completed are currently pending.


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.