Globally, explorers are increasingly putting projects ‘on ice’ temporarily as part of wider measures to help stem the spread of COVID-19.  Meanwhile, Alkane and Stavely — which made two of the biggest mineral discoveries of 2019 — are still aggressively pushing through some major milestones.

Stavely Metals (ASX:SVY) hit the motherlode in September last year when the first hole in a new shallow-focused drilling program at Thursday’s Gossan in Victoria — immediately southeast of earlier deep drilling — assayed up to 40 per cent copper.

Stavely shares took off in response, rocketing from 24c to as high as $1.42 in October. The shares have since drifted back to about 50c in line with general negative market sentiment.

But the important work continues.

The company today announced more broad copper-gold hits from resource drilling at the ‘Cayley Lode’ discovery zone at Thursday’s Gossan, which is now 1.2km long and growing.

This ‘concentrated’ resource drill-out currently underway on the south-eastern end of this discovery zone will underpin a maiden resource.

“Ongoing resource drilling along the Cayley Lode continues to deliver strong copper-gold-silver mineralisation over significant widths,” Stavely executive chairman Chris Cairns says.

“Importantly, the mineralisation remains open in all directions.

“The opportunities to grow this discovery at depth and along strike are enormous, but for now our main focus is on an intensive resource drill-out in the central and south-eastern portion of the discovery, leading towards a maiden JORC Mineral Resource which we are targeting in the second half of this year.”

READ: Barry FitzGerald — How Stavely became one of the most successful exploration floats in recent years


Perhaps the biggest discovery of 2019 was made by NSW-based Alkane Resources (ASX:ALK), which hit thick porphyry copper-gold at the Boda prospect, about 110km north of Cadia in NSW.

Now there’s numerous explorers searching for the next big porphyry discovery in the region.

But Alkane has other irons in the fire, like its nearby — and still operating — 30,000ozpa Tomingley Gold Operations (TGO).

To increase mine life, drilling over the past couple of years has focused on the Roswell, San Antonio and El Paso discoveries, all within 7km of the TGO processing facility.

Alkane says a massive 60km resource definition drilling program on the San Antonio and Roswell prospects is now completed. The San Antonio maiden resource estimation is currently underway with the results “expected to be released shortly”.

A new phase of ‘infill’ resource drilling across Roswell and San Antonio comprising a further 50km is continuing, while regional exploration drilling at the El Paso prospect has also commenced.