One of the nation’s preeminent mineral exploration names has spoken of his excitement after detecting a hydrothermal system at Corazon Mining’s Mt Gilmore copper project in New South Wales.

Dr Noel White is a geologist with more than 40 years of experience, who was once chief geologist at BHP Minerals and has visited more than 350 ore deposits and mines in more than 50 countries – a tidy resume by anyone’s standards.

His work at Corazon Mining’s (ASX:CZN) Mt Gilmore copper project came via his role as Honorary Research Professor at the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences (CODES), where he was part of an innovative mineral chemistry vectoring study that uncovered anomalies with similar structures to known copper porphyry bodies.

The anomalies were identified using innovative techniques and delivered exceptional early results for Corazon, after past geochemical and geophysical surveys proved challenging in refining targets due to challenging geological conditions.

Prior exploration had identified a very large copper-cobalt-gold-silver soil geochemical anomaly over a full 22km strike of exposed basement rock, which was supported by high-grade rock chip samples taken in 2019.

Porphyry deposits are typically large in scale, and Dr White was quoted in a recent video released by the explorer that the system detected looked similar.

“To my mind, in terms of economic potential, the most important thing is that we’ve seen we’ve got a big hydrothermal system,” he said.

“We’re not looking at some dinky little thing. Wherever we’ve gone [at the project], we’ve seen all the features of a large-scale hydrothermal system.

“Large-scale doesn’t prove that there’s an orebody there, but it is one of the essential requirements for one.

“I have no idea what we’re going to see, and as a long-time explorer I feel a sense of excitement – this is a really interesting project, and it has real potential.”

The work by the CODES team furthers the company’s understanding of the complex hydrothermal history of Mt Gilmore. While it doesn’t define precise targets for drill testing, it does pave the way for Corazon to progress what is shaping as a very exciting copper project.

Getting out there

Corazon’s rigs recently finished up at the flagship Lynn Lake nickel copper cobalt sulphide project in the Manitoba province of Canada, hitting nickel and copper sulphide mineralisation along the way.

With assays pending there, the company intends to begin the next phase of exploration at Mt Gilmore, with surface rock chip sampling for detailed mineral chemistry vectoring studies and geophysical surveys planned at the Gordonbrook Hill prospect.

The exploration is low impact and expected to be completed over the next three-to-four months, furthering the work carried out by CODES with a view to drilling down the track.

“Nothing is conclusive. But if you interpreted everything in a negative way, why would you ever do exploration?” Dr White said.

“The ultimate outcome is drilling it – that’s the acid test. That’s what’s going to determine whether you’ve got something significant, or you haven’t.

“You know there’s a geophysical and geochemical anomaly sitting underneath, and we can be researchers and say we’ve got this great idea and we’ll do more research to confirm it and increase our confidence in it.

“At the end of the day, you’ve still got to test it.”

Once targets are clearly defined, Corazon has every intention of doing just that.

Copper calls

The significance of a potential copper discovery should not be underplayed in the current climate, with the world in dire need of new supply if it is to meet its goals for a greener energy future.

Just last week, S&P Global identified copper scarcity as a potential destabilising threat to international security in the 21st century, with the red metal required for the infrastructure needed to fuel the world’s energy transition plans.

“Unless massive new supply comes online in a timely way, the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 will be short-circuited and remain out of reach,” the firm said in its report.

S&P expects copper demand to grow from around 25 million tonnes today to 50Mt by 2035 – a record high which would grow even further to 53Mt by 2050 if the world is to achieve its electrification goals.

Mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) has also backed copper, recently forecasting a “take-off in copper demand from the second half of the 2020s forward, if not earlier”.

That company recently made an $8.4 billion offer for copper miner OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL), which was knocked back despite representing a 30%+ premium to the company’s trading price at the time.

The world has also seen a suite of transactions for producing copper mines over the past year. It’s clearly a metal in demand.

For its part, New South Wales is a prominent copper producer with a reputation for porphyry potential.

On the back of the recent work by CODES, Corazon Mining will be hoping Mt Gilmore can add to an already compelling global copper narrative once it hits the ground with its next exploration campaign.




This article was developed in collaboration with Corazon Mining (ASX:CZN), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.  

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.