Norwest closes in on a giant at North Dovers
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Special Report: Maiden drilling at the huge North Dovers target has confirmed its iron-oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) potential.
Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) has caught the trail of something big.
A maiden three-hole drilling program at the Norwest’s North Dovers prospect in central Australia has already intersected thick sequences of favourable IOCG geology and alteration including minor chalcopyrite (copper ore), pyrite and sphalerite (zinc ore) mineralisation.
Iron oxide copper gold ore deposits (IOCG), like Olympic Dam, can be tremendously large, high grade, and simple-to-process concentrations of copper, gold and uranium ores.
These maiden results mean Norwest is on the right track.
The alteration – the various natural processes altering a mineral’s chemical composition — observed in North Dover diamond core is typical of Olympic Dam IOCG system, says Norwest.
Olympic Dam, which is aiming to produce 215,000 tonnes of copper for FY19, is the third largest copper equivalent deposit, the largest uranium deposit, and third largest gold deposit in the world.
Importantly, the North Dovers bedrock was encountered near surface.
Bedrock can be found kilometres below the surface, which often makes IOCG exploration drilling an expensive affair.
For example, BHP’s diamond drill rigs had to punch through at least 800m of cover before reaching mineralisation at the recent Oak Dam West discovery.
That’s a formidable undertaking for any junior explorer.
But Norwest is confident the shallow North Dovers mineralisation can be effectively drilled using less expensive reverse circulation (RC) rigs.
This will allow greater drill coverage across the North Dovers target zone with considerable cost and time savings, the company says.
In September, a second drilling program using RC rigs will continue testing the North Dovers anomaly as well as targets generated by recent surface sampling work.
A total of 3,100 soil samples covering large tracks of the Arunta West tenements have been completed; the results identifying potential drill targets will be available within the coming fortnight.
The diamond core is currently being transported from site to Perth where it will be cut and sampled. Multi-element assays will be completed with results available late July, Norwest says.
The North Dovers target is defined by a large, 8km by 4km coincident magnetic-gravity anomaly and geological features that are very similar to Olympic Dam.
It was actually BHP which first identified the target back in 1999, but strict access regulations at the time meant no drilling of any kind – until now.
The North Dovers Project is also flanked by exploration ground held by Independence Group (ASX:IGO) and joint venture partner Prodigy Gold (ASX:PRX).
This JV recently increased their ground holdings from 13,000km² to 19,000km² in the highly prospective Lake MacKay region, and have commenced a 10,000m RC drilling program as part of IGO’s $4.4 million FY19 commitment to unlocking the potential of the area.