Special Report: A big, high-grade historic drilling database is already paying dividends for zinc-lead explorer Variscan Mines (ASX:VAR). The explorer’s flagship Novales-Udias project in Cantabria, northern Spain, is evolving into a true near-term production opportunity.

Last year, after acquiring the Novales-Udias and Guajaraz projects, Variscan negotiated access to a large historical archive covering the Reocín mine and its surrounding area.

Reocín, about 10km from the Novales-Udías project, is one of the largest known zinc-lead deposits in Europe.

Variscan believes this archive – covering exploration and mining activity carried out throughout the region from 1981 to 2003 – could help pinpoint another Tier 1 opportunity like Reocín, as well as nearer term production opportunities.

Historic underground drilling projection in 3D.

An initial set of 130 drill-holes for ~9,700m, drilled between 1965 and 1985 have returned significant high-grade zinc intercepts including 8.4m grading 26.75 per cent zinc, 15.2m from surface.

Additional highlights – all within 90m of surface — include:

– 6.30m @ 29.89 per cent zinc

– 7.05m @ 22.83%Zn

– 6.40m @ 25.05%Zn

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– 6.50m @ 24.00%Zn

-6.00m @ 23.80%Zn, and

-4.00m @ 32.79%Zn

A +12 per cent zinc orebody is generally considered high grade.

Eighty five of the 130 historic underground drill-holes reported zinc mineralisation, Variscan says, with 338 intervals reporting over 2 per cent zinc and 202 intervals reporting over 10 per cent zinc.

The company is analysing the remaining historic underground drilling results and expects to publish them shortly. It will then use the results to design an accurate drilling program.

While Novales-Udias is focused around the historic underground mine, there are numerous exploration opportunities across the 68.3sqkm landholding.

These include satellite underground and surface workings, as well as big areas of high-grade zinc ‘anomalism’ up to 2km long and 1km wide grading up to 17 per cent zinc.

Variscan conservatively estimates this dataset would cost +$2m to drill at current prices, managing director Stewart Dickson says.

“There are a number of high-grade zinc intervals or potentially mineable widths within these results, which if unexploited, supports our strategy of seeking to explore the early production potential at the former producing Novales Mine as well as delineate a significant mineral resource over the wider, prospective land package which hosts multiple historic workings,” he says.

These drilling results form part of a significant dataset, which given its scale facilitates accelerated geological and resource modelling.

“Importantly it also informs better drill collar positioning for forthcoming drilling,” Dickson says.


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This story was developed in collaboration with Variscan Mines, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.