Silver, gold and base metals explorer Thomson Resources believes it can unlock a hidden fortune of polymetallic riches at its Mt Carrington project after a major rethink of its strategy has led to the restructuring of an earn-in and JV agreement.

A deposit with potential to host major accumulations of gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper, Thomson Resources (ASX:TMZ) has been reviewing the Mt Carrington gold-silver project in Northern New South Wales since signing an earn-in agreement with owner White Rock Minerals (ASX:WRM) 12 months ago.

At that point, it was viewed as a precious metals project only, with White Rock having completed a ‘gold first’ PFS in 2020 centred on previously reported JORC 2012 and 2004 mineral resource estimates.

Thomson and its geological consultants think that approach could sell the prospective project short.

Instead, they want to review existing drill data and conduct infill drilling on the project’s rich polymetallic core, both to identify its base metals potential and incorporating Mt Carrington into the New England Fold Belt Hub and Spoke Strategy.

That is a centralised processing facility to produce precious and base metals from the 40.2Moz and growing silver equivalent resource Thomson has outlined at its Conrad and Texas silver projects.

In order to do that Thomson and White Rock have restructured the agreement to a two stage earn-in to up to 70% of Mt Carrington, which will see Thomson spend $5 million over three years from March 7 2022 to secure a 51% interest, and a further $2m to claim another 19%.

Unrealised potential

Thomson executive chairman David Williams says the initial phase of the old earn-in agreement had given the company a “good feel for and understanding” of Mt Carrington and how best to develop it.

“We consider that the whole Project has a lot of unrealised base metal potentiality along with the silver and gold. By pursuing solely the gold first production, this value would not be captured,” he says.

“Further we really think that the broader Mt Carrington polymetallic picture will fit in well with our New England Fold Belt Hub and Spoke strategy and we have been keen to explore this further. This has not been possible under the structure of the original agreement.

“Thomson appreciates White Rock’s understanding of our thinking on this and in supporting us with a restructure of the earn-in terms to enable this exploration opportunity to happen.

“We strongly believe that Mt Carrington has the potential to become an important part of our centralised processing approach, which in turn will provide a stronger future for the Mt Carrington Project.”

White Rock managing director and CEO Matt Gill, whose company is shifting focus to the Victorian Goldfields in a merger with AuStar Gold, echoes those thoughts.

“The JV partners have worked extremely well together, sharing a common vision for this project, and we wish to see this alliance continue,” he says.

“They have a clear strategy to unlock the potential from the consolidation of various gold and silver assets in and around our advanced Mt Carrington project in NSW.

“We also believe that a re-focus on the broader exploration potential of the Mt Carrington project can unlock further value and enhance the project’s development and success.”

Mt Carrington’s history of exploration

Exploration and mining have taken place at Mt Carrington since 1853, with the extraction of gold, silver and copper beginning in the gold rush days.

Formed in similar geological conditions to the Cracow and Mt Carlton gold mines in Queensland, the district, which has never before been truly consolidated, hosts 8 known precious and base metals deposits.

That included small scale open pit mining by Mt Carrington Mines from 1974-1990, with recent drilling and exploration focused on enhancing its gold and silver resources, culminating in a study by White Rock on a modest gold only operation at its Kylo and Strauss orebodies.

On the other hand Thomson’s brief is much broader, with the company keen to chase up prospective areas outside known deposits where there has been little modern systematic exploration but great potential to discover new sources of gold, silver, copper and zinc.

Analysis of historic drilling from companies that undertook exploration in the Core Zone prior to White Rock, outlined an area of anomalous gold-silver-copper-zinc-lead intersections suggesting potential to expand the polymetallic footprint of mineralisation in the Guy Bell and historic Mt Carrington pit area.

Thomson says it is in the process of recovering historic drilling to determine if it can be validated to be compliant with JORC 2012 reporting standards.

Renewed focus

That process would leverage millions of dollars already spent on exploration at Mt Carrington by previous explorers to deliver mineral resource estimates under the modern JORC 2012 code that include all silver, gold, zinc, copper and lead mineralisation.

Thomson also plans to undertake its own program of exploration and infill drilling between and around the Kylo, Strauss, Guy Bell, Mt Carrington and Gladstone deposits to see if the polymetallic resources coalesce to support a larger resource and pit compared to the small, multi-pit approach in the old gold only strategy.

Thomson also plans to expand on metallurgical test work by White Rock to confirm the best processing method for Mt Carrington, and assess its compatibility with the larger New England Fold Belt Hub and Spoke processing concept.




This article was developed in collaboration with Thomson 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.