Special Report: When a $7m micro-cap junior has S2 Resources (ASX:S2R) as a 30 per cent shareholder and Mark Bennett (of Sirius Resources and Nova-Bollinger discovery fame) sitting on its board, there’s a couple of reasonable assumptions one can make about its prospects.

The first is that its projects must have a reasonable level of geological potential. The second is that it’s likely to be pursuing a systematic, considered approach to exploration to unlock potentially company-making discoveries.

These are certainly the hallmarks of Northern Territory-focused base metals explorer Todd River Resources (ASX:TRT), which released a swag of encouraging new drilling results from its flagship Mt Hardy base metal project earlier this morning complementing several recent encouraging announcements on further new mineralisation.

Todd River started life as a spin-off from strategic metals developer TNG (ASX:TNG), and has since established itself as an up-and-coming player in the junior base metals space, underpinned by its flagship Mt Hardy zinc-copper project, located 300km north-west of Alice Springs.

Todd River initially focused on drilling out a small but high-grade resource at the Hendrix deposit, which now sports a maiden 2.6-million-tonne resource grading 10.5 per cent zinc equivalent, representing 175,000t of contained zinc, 22,500t of copper and 40,000t of lead.

According to Todd River’s managing director Will Dix – a former colleague of Bennett’s during the hey-day of exploration at LionOre Mining International (which discovered the Thunderbox gold deposit and Waterloo nickel deposit in WA) – Hendrix is a steeply-dipping, sub-vertical deposit which could extend for considerable depths.

“We could drill it out now but doing that from surface would be a relatively expensive exercise – so it would make far more sense to drill it out from underground at some point in the future,” Dix says.

“Instead, we elected to focus on the shallow potential in the second half of this field season by testing a series of targets we identified from surface mapping and sampling using the relatively low-cost reverse circulation (RC) drilling method.

“It’s proven to be a highly successful and cost-effective strategy, as we intersected significant mineralisation at five of the six prospects tested. And the entire program of 37-38 holes cost us around $350,000.

“For that sort of money, we could only have drilled three or four deep diamond holes, if that.”

Significant results have been reported so far from prospects including Gilly and Gilly North (incidentally all of the prospects so far are named after famous left-handed people – Adam Gilchrist, Jimmy Hendrix and, the subject of this morning’s release, tennis legend Rod Laver).

Todd River drilling (Supplied).

Laver becomes the third prospect to deliver mineralisation

Todd River told the ASX this morning that it had intersected “significant” shallow base metal mineralisation at the Laver prospect, located 1.2km east of the current Hendrix resource.

The results included the best intercept drilled to date in terms of combined base metal grade and width in first-pass RC drilling, an intercept of 15m at 7.5 per cent combined base metals including a high-grade zone of 3m at 13.8 per cent combined base metals.

Additional holes completed on two sections to the south of this hole and two holes on the next section, a further 100m south, also intersected base metal mineralisation.

Shallow mineralisation was also intersected at the Hendrix North West prospect, including a best result of 5m at 7.8 per cent combined base metals and 4m at 6.8 per cent combined base metals.

“We have intersected encouraging zones of shallow, high-grade base metal mineralisation at most prospects, with the most recent drilling intersecting Hendrix-style mineralisation at an emerging satellite prospect at Laver, just to the east,” Dix told the ASX.

“The deepest hole at each prospect has been cased for down-hole EM surveying, which should begin shortly, and this will potentially allow us to ‘see’ any accumulations of massive sulphide mineralisation at depth which will need to be further evaluated with drilling early next year.”


Big year ahead

Todd River has started planning for its 2020 exploration field season, which it says is shaping up as a “defining year” for the company, as it targets additional satellite resources outside the Hendrix deposit.

It says the encouraging start to shallow drilling at regional prospects like Gilly, Laver and Hendrix NW highlights the potential for multiple deposits within an emerging mineral field.

“We are confident that we can grow the resource at Hendrix, but we also realise that we need to scale-up the broader resource base across multiple deposits if we are to have a chance of establishing an economic mining operation at some point in the future,” Dix says.

“The best way to do this is to establish shallow mineralisation at a number of satellite prospects, and then to use down-hole geophysics and follow-up drilling to see if we can find massive sulphide zones at depth that could replicate our success at Hendrix.”

While the nearby prospects drilled this year offer the potential for a quick scaling-up of the Mt Hardy resource base, the deeper potential for massive sulphide positions at Hendrix and elsewhere will be followed up once electromagnetic conductors are identified from down-hole survey work, due to be completed before the end of the year.

It was EM survey work that led to the 2012 discovery of the Nova nickel-copper deposit by Sirius Resources, with Sirius later taken over by Independence Group (ASX:IGO) for $1.8 billion.

Adding further spice to its exploration plans for 2020, Todd River plans to undertake initial exploration activities at its recently acquired Nanutarra nickel sulphide project in WA and the tantalising Petermann Range project in the Northern Territory.

Locked up for decades because of land access issues, Petermann Range hosts, among other things, an underexplored ultramafic intrusive complex with Tier-1 discovery potential.

Todd River clinched a crucial exploration access agreement earlier this year and is now finalising the details ahead of a maiden exploration push next year.

This story was developed in collaboration with Todd River Resources, 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.