The Winu copper-gold-silver discovery in the Paterson province of Western Australia is real – and it could be colossal, Rio Tinto confirms.

The major miner announced the discovery of Winu – aka the worst kept secret in mining — after market close yesterday.

The low grade mineralisation starts close to surface and runs very, very deep.

One drill hole returned 763 metres of mineralisation grading 0.44 per cent copper, 0.65 grams per tonne gold, and 2.55 grams per tonne silver.

This intersection ended 809 metres below the surface.

There’s also a number of significant plus-1 per cent plus copper intersections.

The mineralisation remains open at depth and to the east, north and south, and Rio says a second phase of drilling starts very soon.

cross section through mineralisation at Winu.

Which juniors stand to benefit?

But how will the junior end of the market respond now the facts are on the table?

There’s a band of juniors with exploration interests the region which have already received share price bumps on nearology speculation.

Independence struck a deal with Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) on its Yeneena copper-cobalt project.

Under the deal, Independence could spend up to $15 million to earn a 70% interest in Yeneena.

OZ Minerals’ (ASX:OZL) deal in the Paterson was with Red Metal (ASX:RDM). It was part of a broader deal on six Red Metal projects across the country. But it was the Yarrie project in the Paterson which had the biggest minimum spend commitment from OZ of $2.5m over two years.

Two long-term explorers in the Paterson, Antipa Minerals (ASX:AZY), and Sipa Resources (ASX:SRI) are planning an active year on the ground at their existing project areas near Winu, and at newly generated targets using the same geophysical method as Rio is believed to have used.

Other players in the region Metalicity (ASX:MCT) and Carawine (ASX:CWX) will also be active.

There are lots of other juniors who have taken up ground in the Paterson. Expect to hear more from them now Winu has been confirmed.