South32 drilling lifts off at Encounter’s Jessica copper project
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Diversified miner South32 has kicked off its first drilling at one of its biggest greenfields exploration plays in Australia at Encounter Resources’ Jessica copper project in the NT.
The mining major is throwing its weight into the project with an initial four diamond drill holes for 3,500m to test targets identified by South32 (ASX:S32) through the reprocessing of seismic data and gravity surveys.
Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) says this includes the Zeta target, which is a significant and discrete gravity feature coincident with a prominent magnetic feature on the margin of a large interpreted intrusive body.
“We have utilised this widespread seismic coverage, together with a detailed gravity survey to generate the drill targets for this program,” ENR MD Will Robinson said.
“Applied extensively by the oil and gas industry, seismic modelling techniques have resulted in a step change in exploration success.
“The application of seismic to hard rock minerals exploration has the potential to transform success rates for copper and zinc discoveries in sedimentary basins.
“After this program the rig will head to Carrara for a 3,000m program with drilling expected to continue through to November.”
Carrara is prospective for zinc and located to the east of Jessica towards the world-class Century zinc deposit across the border in Queensland. Carrara is also under JV with South32 and an initial three holes are planned.
Under the terms of the Jessica JV, South32 has the right to earn a 60% interest in Jessica by sole funding $15m of exploration expenditure within 10 years.
During that period, South32 may earn an additional 15% interest in Jessica by completing a scoping study.
Strategic exploration partnerships are Encounter’s speciality, as on top of its JV with South32, it has farm-in deals with other big miners such as IGO at its Yeneena copper project and with BHP at its Elliott copper project.
Drilling at Yeneena by IGO started last week, with three holes being to be completed at Encounter’s Lookout Rocks prospect that will test the down plunge position of known copper mineralisation grading up to 1% that was intersected in prior drilling. Upcoming activities also include two diamond drill holes at the BM5 prospect and 20 AC holes at the BM7 prospect.
This article was developed in collaboration with Encounter Resources, 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.