Kincora wins 3 government drilling grants as NSW copper becomes point of focus for North American investors
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Kincora has secured itself three highly sought-after drilling grants, boosting funding to advance copper exploration in the red-hot Lachlan Fold Belt of NSW, at the same time it is witnessing increased interest from North American investors.
Competition for the New South Wales government’s latest round of drilling grants was fierce, but Kincora Copper (ASX:KCC) has successfully beaten several other applicants to lock in about $390,000 in funding for its Fairholme, Jemalong and Nevertire projects.
“Competition for this year’s grants was particularly high,” CEO Sam Spring said. “The awards follow a competitive expert panel review process of applications, including technical and financial considerations.”
The New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling program provides grants to successful applicants for exploration drilling programs that demonstrate strong prospectivity, sound financial planning and a proven technical base.
“It is a great outcome for Kincora that our three separate project applications were recognised, and funds awarded,” Spring told Stockhead.
“Together with other neighbouring explorer grants, this will effectively see five mineral system prospects and projects in our pipeline be advanced and drill tested and adds independent support to the prospective locations and technical merits of these targets.
“Our grants include results pending for five completed diamond holes at Fairholme and a follow up aircore program expected to commence in the next quarter.”
As Spring refers to, what is also a win for Kincora is the award of drilling grants to neighbouring explorers Rimfire Pacific Mining (ASX:RIM) and Sultan Resources (ASX:SLZ), which will use the cash for drilling at the Valley and Razorback projects respectively.
“When considering RIM and SLZ’s grants for ground that will test common geological targets and concepts, directly adjacent to our ground, effectively there will be over $500,000 of cooperative funding, meaning over a $1 million of direct drilling costs, supported by this program to test our projects or potentially associated mineral systems,” Spring explained.
Rimfire’s Valley project is located about 5km west of Kincora’s Mordialloc target at the Trundle project.
Rimfire is planning a near-term deep hole drilling program to test the potential for a blind Ordovician intrusive system under younger cover and the potential western margin of the Northparkes Caldera/Igneous Complex.
Meanwhile, Sultan has already started a maiden drilling program of up to nine holes at the Razorback project to test a gold-copper anomaly.
Visual results for the first two holes have been reported, with the prospect close to the license boundary of, and shares common geophysical anomalies to, Kincora’s Cundumbul project.
With expectations for a strong copper price environment further fuelling concerns over the increasing sovereign risk for copper explorers and producers in countries like Chile, Peru, and even the US, North American investors are seeking out more favourable jurisdictions.
And with Australia’s largest mining state, Western Australia, keeping its borders firmly shut to the rest of the country and world for now, NSW is taking centre stage.
“A few North American investors have recently been reaching out given they are bullish on copper but finding it hard to find jurisdictions they are comfortable with, and in their words, NSW is increasingly looking attractive,” Spring noted.
“This is very understandable when you see Bloomberg run articles with the headline ‘Politics Are Turning Against Copper Miners’ after the conference call by Freeport this week, and this was before the news relating to Antofagasta’s Twin Metals copper and nickel mine in the US.
“NSW’s cooperative funding program is another example of the favourable operating environment Kincora benefits from in NSW, with the Macquarie Arc being Australia’s foremost porphyry region and a Tier 1 global copper jurisdiction from both a geological prospectivity and demonstrated mining perspective.”
Kincora, which is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, is currently drilling the only brownfield project, the Trundle project, held by a listed junior in the Macquarie Arc.
Just last week the company revealed it had uncovered further evidence it was drilling into a large-scale Macquarie Arc porphyry system, with new drill results comparing favourably to Newcrest Mining’s (ASX:NCM) Cadia operation and the neighbouring Northparkes mine.
Drilling has now almost doubled the strike of gold-copper mineralisation to over 1.3km at the Trundle Park prospect, which remains open, and from largely only near-surface to up to 750m depths.
On its other projects, Kincora has completed a diamond drilling program at the Gateway prospect within the Fairholme project, with results expected to be announced shortly, and it is preparing to begin drilling at the Nevertire and Jemalong projects.
Kincora has also drilled one of two holes at the Nyngan project, which received government funding under the previous New Frontiers Cooperative Drilling round.
Kincora also has a project portfolio in the Southern Gobi copper-gold belt, Mongolia’s leading porphyry region, where it has defined a large exploration target of 416-428 million tonnes at 0.26-0.30% copper at its most advanced project, the Bronze Fox mining license.
There has been some positive moves this week in Mongolia, with mining heavyweight Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and the Mongolian government reaching agreement on the way forward for the development of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper project and commencement of the underground mine, which is expected to be the worlds 4th largest copper mine by 2030.
Mongolian Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai was quoted by Reuters as saying the deal “demonstrates to the world that Mongolia can work together with investors in a sustainable manner and become a trusted partner.”
Spring told Stockhead that the “results of Kincora’s 2021 field season activities in Mongolia are expected soon, and with some very positive progress, coupled with an update on corporate plans to further advance this project portfolio”.
“It is great to see the underground commence at Oyu Tolgoi, which is a significant milestone towards the potential of that project and the wider Southern Gobi copper belt being realised,” he said.
This article was developed in collaboration with Kincora Copper, 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.