New World Resources has had its hands full since picking up the Antler copper project in Arizona two and a half years ago, as drilling kept opening up new resources at depth below the high-grade deposit.

But their focus will change from early next year, at least for a month or two, with drilling to begin, for the first time, at prospects that could become satellite VMS deposits for the historic copper mine.

The high priority targets, that have never been drilled, defined in recent surveys by New World Resources (ASX:NWC), with strong IP geophysical anomalies coincident with strong soil geochemistry anomalies over more than 6km strike north-east of Antler.

NWC will begin drilling at the targets early in Q1 2023.

They include the strongest IP anomaly at Rattlesnake Ridge, where copper-rich gossans have been identified in initial reconnaissance exploration.

A discovery at any of these targets could be a game changer, delivering new ore sources which could be trucked and processed at the future Antler plant to bolster the economics of the mine’s redevelopment.

“For the past two-and-a-half years, since acquiring the Antler Project, 100% of our drilling has targeted the very high-grade Antler Deposit itself,” NWC managing director Mike Haynes said.

“This is simply because results have gotten better and better as we’ve drilled deeper and deeper, and the mineralisation continues to remain completely open at depth.

“This has led to our continued focus on drilling deeper at Antler to increase our resource base.

“But we also recognise that there is considerable potential to discover and develop satellite VMS deposits, along strike from Antler, that could allow us to expand plant throughput, which would have a positive impact on the economics of developing the project.”


New World ASX NWC Surveys
New World Resources has lined up a slew of targets chasing satellite deposits around its Antler copper deposit. Pic: NWC


Bring on 2023

A series of drill holes has been planned to test the Rattlesnake Ridge target early in 2023, signalling a major expansion of the exploration strategy beyond the immediate surrounds of the high-grade Antler deposit.

Another three high priority targets have been defined at the Copper Knob Prospect, West World Prospect and Antler Offset Prospect.

All three have chargeability anomalies ranging from strong to moderate, coinciding with copper oxide outcrop at Copper Knob, copper-in-soil geochem anomalism at West World and copper and zinc soil geochem anomalism at Antler Offset, immediately northeast of the Antler deposit.

All of the IP anomalies are modelled to be located between 50-300m deep, indicating the sources of the anomalies are unlikely to come from surface. To that end drilling is planned across multiple targets to start early next year.

Previous IP surveys have drawn outstanding results. One in 2020 over the Antler deposit led directly to the discovery of the thick and high grade south shoot. All the new targets from the recent IP survey are within the same geological sequence, extending over >6km of strike.


New World ASX NWC Surveys
Rattlesnake Ridge’s copper gossans help make it a high priority target. Pic: NWC


Haynes says excitement is building for what NWC may find.

“There are two known VMS deposits in the district; so there could well be more,” he said.

“With multiple strong, coincident IP and soil geochemistry anomalies now defined, we have commenced work to prepare for drilling.

“And already we have discovered copper-rich gossanous material at surface at what is now our highest priority along-strike target – the Rattlesnake Ridge Prospect.

“We are very excited to be preparing to drill test this and multiple other new, high-priority targets in early 2023.”

Building on success

The new drilling campaign will build on a tower of success already achieved by NWC at Antler, where mining previously took place between 1916 and 1970.

The deposit has been transformed by modern exploration and in the context of what is expected to be a generational boom in demand for copper from the energy transition.

A scoping study this year placed an NPV(7) of US$525m ($750m) and pre-tax IRR of 42% on the project, which will deliver US$2b ($2.8b) in revenue at a modest capex of US$201m.

Producing 271,240t of copper equivalent metal in concentrates over a 10-year mine life, the project is expected to grow further, with drilling beneath the base of its resource over the past 12 months currently being incorporated into an updated resource estimate – due for release by the end of November.

Any satellite discoveries are expected to have a similarly positive impact on project economics.

That will be especially the case if NWC can identify shallow sources of mineralisation, which could facilitate not just greater annual production rates and/or a longer mine life, but could be scheduled earlier in the mine schedule to give NWC more time to develop deeper ore sources at Antler.




This article was developed in collaboration with New World 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.