As the restart of the Kanmantoo copper mine in South Australia gets underway, so too has further exploration drilling to expand mine life and annual production.

Hillgrove Resources has completed four drill holes from surface into the Emily Star lode and intersected strong mineralisation hosting high-grade copper-gold breccia zones, showing further potential of expanding underground mining into the South Hub underground complex.

The Emily Star mineralisation is located approximately 600m west of the Nugent copper-gold zone and has been previously mined by a shallow open pit by Hillgrove between 2013 and 2015.

The deepest Emily Star drill holes are now the recently drilled KTDD239 and KTDD240 with zones of Cu-Au mineralisation over 71m and 68m downhole widths respectively.

KTDD239 showed 71.7m @ 0.89% copper, including 9.7m @ 1.29% Cu, 0.14g/t Au from 135.6m downhole and 4m @ 2.9% Cu, 0.61g/t Au from 159.3m downhole.

KTDD240 showed 68.75m @ 0.9% Cu including 4.8m @ 1.39% Cu, 0.09g/t Au from 169.5m downhole and 35.1m @ 1.29% Cu, 0.08g/t Au from 192.2m downhole.

These drill holes indicate that Emily Star’s mineralised zone has at least 100m strike length and is open to the north and down plunge.

Hillgrove Resources (ASX:HGO) said it was similar to the Kavanagh lode system which is the main focus of the Stage 1 Kanmantoo underground development.

Location of 2023 Emily Star drilling. Pic supplied (HGO).

HGO MD Lachlan Wallace said the success of the 2023 drilling shows that Emily Star, a subset of the broader South Hub complex, continues to be reviewed as a potential additional work area.

“With the Stage 1 underground fully funded and on track for first copper production in early 2024, the drilling highlights growth potential beyond the initial mine plan,” he said.

“We continue to have an amazing exploration strike rate with 158 mineralised intersections from 136 drill holes since drilling for the underground resources commenced in 2019, with each drilling program resulting in a material increase to the mineral resource estimate.

“This recent drilling provides confidence that future drilling will continue to expand the mineralisation footprint around the Stage 1 underground development and provide opportunities to grow both the mine life and annual copper production profile.”

Kanmantoo is on track for production in Q1 2024, with ore stockpiling and the 3.6Mtpa processing plant and tailings facility being prepped for the restart.

Stage 1 will begin mining of the current 4.5Mt underground resources to deliver 43,000t of copper and 11,500oz of gold over an initial 45 months.

This article was developed in collaboration with Hillgrove 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.