On the Drill Bit: ASX explorers hit the ground running in 2024
If there’s one maxim that is true for resource explorers, it is that they live or die by the drill bit. Stockhead’s ‘On the Drill Bit’ column looks at the ASX explorers that have announced plans to start drilling in January 2024.
In WA’s Murchison-Midwest region, BPM Minerals (ASX:BPM) plans to start aircore and reverse circulation drilling at its Claw project to test the Louie and Chickie prospects, as well as regional structural targets.
Louie is a 1,200m by 400m gold-in-regolith anomaly located on the northern tenement boundary just 500m from CMM’s recent exploration/resources drilling, while Chickie is a 1,000m long gold in regolith anomaly with multiple holes finishing in mineralisation.
The structural targets were identified by Dr Barry Murphy using automated edge detection “worming” to highlight gradients in the geophysical data to identify long-lived, deep-seated fault structures as potential fluid pathways for gold mineralising fluids and final trap sites.
Future Battery Minerals (ASX:FBM) will drill northern target areas at its Kangaroo Hills project in WA – just 17km south of Coolgardie and 30km from Mineral Resources’ (ASX:MIN) Mt Marion lithium mine.
The Phase 4 program will include RC drilling of Big Red Extension, plus scout testing of Quokka, Big Red West, Big Red North and Western Grey.
It will also carry out further drilling of Big Red for ongoing metallurgical test work and resource definition drilling.
Spartan Resources (ASX:SPR) is launching a “new and expansive” drill campaign in January that’s aimed at building the already significant gold resources at its Dalgaranga project northwest of Mt Magnet.
Dalgaranga already boasts a contained resource of 1.7Moz grading 2.49g/t gold with the high-grade Never Never deposit making up a substantial part of this with 5.16Mt @ 5.74g/t gold, or 952,900oz of contained gold.
Never Never remains open and appears to be shallowing and flattening slightly to the south, making it a tantalising target for directional drilling from a parent hole that the company plans to drill early in the new year to systematically understand the potential of Never Never Deeps.
Strickland Metals (ASX:STK) is planning to carry out further drilling at its Horse Well project in WA’s prolific Yandal greenstone belt.
The initial hole had returned a 31m intersection grading 5.6g/t gold from a down-hole depth of 70m to the end of hole while the initial holes from the initial 19-hole program determined that mineralisation appears to strike northeast to southwest with a southerly plunge.
It has booked a RC rig to return in the first week of January for about three weeks before operations cease in the wet season.
Over in Queensland, Iltani Resources (ASX:ILT) will resume the Stage 2 drill program at its Orient silver-lead-zinc-indium project in northern Queensland after it was paused ahead of the powerful Cyclone Jasper.
Stage 1 drilling was completed in August this year – the first at Orient in over 35 years – and returned multiple wide intersections of 30-40m thick silver-lead-zinc-indium mineralisation at the Orient East and West target areas.
Top intersections at Orient East and West were 38m grading 190g/t silver equivalent from a down-hole depth of 19m and 41m @ 125g/t silver equivalent from 60m respectively.
Uranium explorer Norfolk Metals (ASX:NFL) will launch Phase 2 drilling at its Orroroo project in South Australia early in January to follow-up on Phase 1 drilling that returned grades up to 796ppm U3O8.
The Phase 2 drilling will be completed before the end of the month and will help determine the prospectivity of EL6552 and EL6814 at the project.
Fin Resources (ASX:FIN) plans to start drill testing of the White Bear discovery within its Cancet West project in Quebec as soon as possible during Q1 2024.
Previous exploration had defined a coarse spodumene-bearing lithium zone over a strike of ~300m with a width of up to 100m within the five pegmatite outcrops at White Bear.
Meanwhile, Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1) will in Q1 2024 drill test priority targets at the Junior project in Ontario, Canada, where multiple pegmatites have already been discovered at surface.
Junior, which is close to the company’s 9.9Mt Seymour project, includes the Tape Lake zone that could host stacked pegmatites or a potentially fertile intrusive system.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) is preparing to launch an extensive follow-up drilling program at the newly discovered Planalto prospect early in 2024.
The drilling is aimed at providing sufficient drill coverage to enable the calculation of a maiden resource for the area where the discovery hole had intersected pegmatites with approximately 45m of cumulative spodumene mineralisation, including one single spodumene rich pegmatite of over 18m.
Native Mineral Resources’ (ASX:NMR) is planning to carry out a drill program in Q1 2024 to test outcropping, high-grade lithium pegmatites at the McLaughlin Lake project in Manitoba, Canada.
The 19,321-hectare McLaughlin Lake project is in the Archean-aged Superior Province of the Canadian Shield, which hosts some of the world’s most significant lithium resources in Quebec and Ontario, and the Tanco lithium mine in Manitoba.
First pass field work has uncovered high-grade samples up to 2.77% Li2O.
New World Resources (ASX:NWC) is preparing to carry out drilling at the very high-priority Discus copper prospect within its Javelin VMS project in Arizona early in January 2024.
The program will test the IP anomaly over which widespread, highly anomalous rock samples including 15% copper, 3.1% zinc and 1.16 g/t gold have been collected recently.
Discus extends over 1.2km by 1km, making any discovery fairly substantial.
Over in Austria, ADX Energy (ASX:ADX) plans to spud the potentially transformational Welchau-1 well that has exceptional gas resource potential, yet it has a relatively shallow drill depth and is proximal to gas pipelines.
Welchau is estimated to host best technical prospective resources of 807 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent in the same reservoirs as the nearby Moln-1 well which tested condensate rich gas in 1989.
Half of the cost of drilling Welchau-1 is funded by MCF Energy, which will earn 20% in the Welchau investment area.