• Azure’s drilling could add substantially to Andover lithium resources
  • Olympio’s maiden RC drilling at Eurelia to test long known but untested carbonatite REE targets
  • Southern Hemisphere to drill for copper at Llahuin

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 the coming month.

Resources exploration requires multiple phases before a resource (or reserve in the oil and gas world) can be defined to back development planning.

One simply cannot drill a drill hole at random and hope to succeed.

Companies first have to carry out early stage survey work to identify likely locations before getting boots on the ground to narrow down the area to be covered.

All these electromagnetic surveys, seismic surveys, rock chip sampling and the ilk are certainly useful in finding or defining the extent of resources.

However, drilling of holes or wells (for the oilies or sometimes the lithium brine plays) is still essential to gather the necessary data – including assays or flow rates – needed to actually define resources or reserves.

With that in mind here are the companies that are starting drilling in October divided first by Australian state followed by those operating overseas.

Western Australia

Over in Australia’s premier resources destination, Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) may have been due to kick off drilling of the intriguing Target Area 3 – the top-ranked lithium target in pre-drilling groundwork at its Andover project – in late September, but what’s a couple of days between friends?

The Andover lithium discovery has been one of the standouts year this with drilling returning multiple +100m intersections including a massive 209.4m interval grading 1.42% Li2O in Target Area 1.

Drilling at Target Area 3 is also likely to be closely watched as success could pave the way for conversion of at least part of the Exploration Target of between 25Mt and 75Mt grading 1% to 1.5% Li2O into resources.

About 25km to the west-southwest, Greentech Metals (ASX:GRE) is poised to start drilling at the Kobe prospect within its Ruth Well lithium project.

Exploration to date has identified two lithium pegmatite trends with confirmed spodumene that strike over 7.5-10km at Kobe and 2.5km at the Southern Trend.

Rock chip sampling at the Kobe trend has returned assays of up to 1.8% Li2O.

Reverse circulation drilling is poised to resume at the Mustang prospect within Kula Gold’s (ASX:KGD) Kirup lithium project in the South West region once the current six hole program totalling 900m at Rankin Dome joint venture near Southern Cross is completed.

The first hole at Mustang, an advanced target up to 100m wide and 1km long, hit visual pegmatites over four intervals to 132m, with the intervals ranging from 2-9m.

However, the program was suspended due to ground conditions and the rig mobilised to carry out drilling at the Rankin Dome rare earths project.

Kirup is located just 20km from Greenbushes, one of the largest lithium mines in the world.

Reach Resources (ASX:RR1) is planning to carry out more diamond drilling at its Morrissey Hill lithium project in the emerging Gascoyne where Phase 1 drilling had intersected multiple, thick stacked pegmatite in the Bonzer prospect.

Data from this initial drilling will be used to guide Phase 2 drilling, which will start in October subject to regulatory approval.

Morrissey Hill is along strike, and in the same system of rocks as Delta Lithium’s (ASX:DLI) Malinda discovery at Yinnetharra, where numerous hits like 56m at 1.12% lithium sparked a pegging rush from big names like FMG and a collection of savvy small cap explorers, making it a prime target for exploration.

Over at the Earaheedy Basin, Strickland Metals (ASX:STK) expects a diamond rig to arrive at the Rabbit Well and Iroquois prospects in October to test “extremely compelling” base metal targets with coincident geophysical and surface geochemical anomalies.

These targets are also located within the ideal geological setting for the style of base metal mineralisation being targeted.

Drilling will also test the large-scale gold target at Great Western and the Horse Well gold project, where the company has discovered a new gold trend.

Meanwhile, Warriedar Resources (ASX:WA8) is poised to launch a 5,600m drill program to test 10 high-potential base metal targets at the Fields Find West target, which offers “some of the best brownfield and geophysical targets” across its tenure in the Murchison region.

These targets are close to significant ore-grade copper, gold, and other base metals intercepts, including the historical Warriedar copper mine where surface rock chip sampling returned 20.1% copper.

This drilling is aimed at defining more gold ounces to add to the company’s already respectable hoard, which at 945,000oz is well within spitting distance of the magic 1 million ounce mark that seems to drive investors wild.

The rest of Australia

Moving in a clockwise direction to South Australia, we wind up at Olympio Metals’ (ASX:OLY) Eurelia project where a maiden RC drilling at the Walloway REE prospect is due to begin in October.

This drilling will test carbonatite targets that have been known for more than 50 years but have never being drilled.

Both the W1 and W3 targets were generated by high quality magnetic data from previous explorers with the company acquiring a drone magnetic survey to confirm that more carbonatite intrusions are present at the prospect.

In Queensland, Sunshine Metals (ASX:SHN) is starting drilling at the Lighthouse farm-in area within its Ravenswood Consolidated project in Queensland.

The company is earning up to 75% interest in tenements EPM25617 and EPM26705 that make up Lighthouse by sole funding $2.2m of expenditure over three years.

Field work has already identified the potential of the Cardigan Dam target – one of three prospects at Lighthouse – to host both breccia-hosted and orogenic gold.

Rock chip sampling at the Main Gossan here returned a top assay of 8.35g/t gold, 32.8g/t silver and 0.28% copper while mapping and rock chips of up 59.5g/t gold identified a second gossanous zone.

DevEx Resources (ASX:DEV) is mobilising a second drill rig to its 4,700km2 Nabarlek uranium project in the NT to follow-up on drilling that has intersected high-grade uranium mineralisation across multiple prospects.

Recent drilling has returned results such as 40.7m at 0.11% U3O8 from a down-hole depth of 54.9m including 0.4m at 0.53% U3O8, a massive plus in light of growing uranium prices approach a 15-year high – certainly high enough for ASX uranium developments to slam down on the go button.

That the project surrounds the historical Nabarlek uranium mine that produced 24Mlbs of the energy metal at an average grade of 1.8% U3O8 just adds that much more to its prospectivity.


In South America, Southern Hemisphere Mining (ASX:SUH) is poised to start a 2,500m resource expansion drill program at its Llahuin copper project in Chile.

Llahuin is 8km southwest from the El Espino Copper-Gold mine development that is operated by Santiago-listed Pucobre and just 5km from access to grid power, 200km to Coquimbo Port and about 20km from a sealed airstrip.

The project currently has an open-pittable resource of 169Mt at 0.4% copper equivalent, most of which is contained within the higher confidence Measured and Inferred categories.

Drilling is aimed at increasing open-pittable resources up to the level required to support a 25-year mine life.

Meanwhile, New World Resources (ASX:NWC) is preparing to resume exploration drilling at its high-grade Antler copper project in Arizona.

This will focus on shallow satellite targets to enhance the project’s economics as the company continues to fast-track the 11.4Mt deposit grading 2.1% copper, 5% zinc, 0.9% lead, 32.9g/t silver and 0.36g/t gold towards production.

Previous work has already delineated numerous very high-quality, completely untested exploration targets.

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Azure Minerals, Greentech Metals, Kula Gold, Reach Resources, Strickland Metals, Warriedar Resources, Olympio Metals, Sunshine Metals, DevEx Resources, Southern Hemisphere, New World Resources are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.