Special Report: Australian explorer Antipa Minerals will begin drilling on its 100 per cent-owned tenements in the Wild West that could see the next world-class discovery in the region.

Antipa (ASX: AZY) said on Monday it was on track to commence up to 20,000 metres of aircore and reverse circulation drilling on its North Telfer and Paterson Projects in Western Australia in early April.

The drilling, which marks the first phase of the company’s 2019 exploration program in the Paterson, will test up to 25 greenfields targets generated using geophysical surveying techniques as well as a single brownfields prospect.

Antipa is hoping that one or more of these targets comes up trumps, which could strengthen Paterson’s recent emergence as a global mineral exploration hotspot.

Drilling in progress on Antipa’s Paterson tenements (Supplied)

Rumours circulating early last year that Rio Tinto had made a major copper discovery on ground neighbouring Antipa were behind the initial increase in interest in the Paterson.

Rio is yet to confirm the discovery, but the hype around the region intensified again in November when AIM-listed Greatland Gold announced a spectacular –albeit deep – gold intercept from its Havieron Project.

The Paterson’s geological potential was first noted in the early 1970s with the discovery of the Telfer gold-copper deposit, which had a pre-mining endowment of 32 million ounces of gold and one million tonnes of copper.

Telfer was discovered as an outcrop, meaning the mineralised rocks were visible at surface.

In the case of large parts of the Paterson though, the rocks of interest lie under a layer of sandy material known as “cover”.

This makes exploration more challenging and is a prime reason why to this day, the region remains relatively underexplored.

Geophysical surveying makes a difference

Geophysical surveying technologies such as aeromagnetics and aerial electromagnetics help exploration companies see through the cover and identify drill targets and have played a part in most of the more recent discoveries in the Paterson.

Antipa flew aerial electromagnetic and aeromagnetic surveys over a major structure that runs through its tenements known as the El Paso Corridor late last year.

It was from these surveys that the greenfields targets were generated.

“Historic exploration of the El Paso Corridor on Antipa’s tenements has been superficial and largely ineffective due to variable younger cover (typically less than 30m thick) including Great Sandy Desert sand dunes,” Antipa managing director Roger Mason said.

“Prior to 2018, there was a lack of electrical geophysical surveys across this corridor, including electromagnetics which has led to most of the significant recent discoveries in the eastern region of the Paterson Province.”

Preparing to fly an aerial electromagnetic survey (Supplied)

Antipa controls approximately 60 per cent of the eastern region of the Paterson where the cover is less than 80m deep. Approximately 50 per cent of the company’s ground is under less than 20m of cover.

In other parts of the Paterson, the cover can be over a kilometre deep.

Brownfields aspect not forgotten

 As part of the 2019 program, Antipa will also continue appraising high priority brownfields targets that have the potential to supplement the resources defined by the company at the Minyari-WACA deposit.

Drilling of the Turkey Farm prospect, 1km to the west of the Chicken Ranch deposit, is planned, as is surface geochemical sampling and geological mapping at the Pajero and Triangle target areas.

All of these targets are located within 25-40km of Minyari-WACA and shape as potential satellite deposits.

Drill testing of the greenfields targets is anticipated to run into June, with results to be disclosed as required.



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