Explorer Silver City Minerals finds copper and gold in Broken Hill
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Broken Hill is known as home to the world’s biggest deposit of silver, lead and zinc – but investigations by explorer Silver City Minerals show the western NSW town also contains an abundance of copper and gold.
Silver City (ASX:SCI) has just announced drilling results from the first hole at its Copper Blow site, 20 km south of Broken Hill.
Initial analysis of the drill hole showed an impressive 8.22 metre section with 1.9 per cent copper and 0.53 grams per tonne of gold from 132 metres depth.
That intersection include 4 metres at 2.5 per cent copper and 0.83 grams per tonne of gold.
“This is an excellent result in just the first hole and highlights the potential of the project,” Silver City managing director Chris Torrey said.
“We have drilled a further five holes where assays [lab tests] are pending and plan to drill another five holes in this program to determine the extent of this mineralisation.
“We also believe there is potential for mineralisation on a further 5km of strike [distance] outside the main 750m where the current drilling is taking place. As such, we have commenced exploration here as well.”
Known as Silver City, Broken Hill has a rich history in mining dating back to 1883 when silver ore was first discovered.
Silver City Minerals, which listed in 2011 and takes its name from Broken Hill, was initially focused on finding the next big silver-lead-zinc ore body in the region.
But after compiling historic drill hole data for its Copper Blow project – and building a 3D geological model — it became apparent that several very high grade copper-gold intersections appeared in drill cores from exploration dating back to early 1980s.
The Copper Blow site, which sits 20 km south of Broken Hill, contains mineralisation markedly different from lead-zinc-silver lodes, says Silver City managing director Chris Torrey.
Unlike other mineralisation at Broken Hill
“What we are looking at is quite different, probably a lot younger than the Broken Hill ore bodies,” he told Stockhead.
“It’s more like what you see in eastern Queensland out near Mount Isa in the Cloncurry district.
“The style of mineralisation is iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) and is unlike any of the mineralisation that occurs at Broken Hill.”
The old workings and drill holes established a 1 km zone of copper mineralisation, open along strike, with high grade targets for immediate drill testing.
One section from historical drilling included 11.8 metres at 6.7 per cent copper, 1.92 grams per tonne of gold and 14 grams per tonne of silver in a drill hole known as CB09.
“Previous owners drilled holes for copper in the 1980s and 1990s and they are very high grade,” Mr Torrey said.
“You can mine those near the surface or underground quite economically if you can get enough of it.”
The Copper Blow project is a 75-25 joint venture between Silver City and CBH Resources.
CBH owns and operates a lead-zinc-silver mine and associated mill and processing plant at Broken Hill.
“High-grade copper concentrates are getting a premium at the moment so CBH are very keen to participate,” Mr Torrey said.
“If you found something you could run it through one of two mills at Broken Hill and you don’t have to spend money on a processing plant because there are already two in town. That reduces the cost profile,” he said.
The project also has significant untested potential for cobalt, rare earth elements and molybdenum.
Silver City began a 10-hole, 2600 metre drilling program at the project last month to test a 750-metre-long target where historic drilling intersected multiple lenses of significant copper and gold mineralisation.
So far, results have been impressive with the first diamond drill hole at Copper Blow intersecting 13.5 metres of strong copper mineralisation only 110 metres below surface.
The current program is expected to be complete by the end of the month with final analytical results in mid-to-late October.
Silver City may then progress with deeper drilling.
“If we have got some high-grade hits here — which it looks like we’ve got — we are likely to go back and start a new phase of drilling,” he said.
Silver City has a market capitalisation of less than $5 million and cash of about $1.5 million following a recent capital raising to fund the current drill program and pursue follow-up programs.
The timing is good, considering the price of copper has hit three-year highs, driven by increased demand.
“Every few years the world consumes an Escondida [the world’s biggest copper mine in Chile] and the demand is consistent,” Mr Torrey said.
“The world consumes a lot of copper so I think there’s going to be a lot more interest in copper over the next 18 months.”
Copper is used mostly in electrical generators and motors, for electrical wiring and electronic goods such as radios and TV sets.
The increasing demand for electric vehicles has also witnessed an increase in copper demand.
This special report is brought to you by Silver City Minerals.
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