Native Minerals closes in on QLD porphyry copper

Native Mineral Resources looks to be closing in on the deeper source of copper mineralisation at its Leane’s prospect in Far North Queensland, with drilling returning some interest tweaking hints of the red metal. Latest results from Leane’s include 6 metres at 0.33 per cent copper, including 1 metre at 0.61 per cent copper from 74 metres down-hole. Results from deeper, sulphidic diamond drilling are currently in the laboratory awaiting assay.
The drill results come from the company’s maiden program over the Leane’s discovery, with Native Minerals having now completed five shallow reverse circulation drill holes and two deeper diamond holes. The reverse circulation drilling has confirmed the presence of a large hydrothermal breccia system along the contact between sediments and limestones of the Chilligoe Formation – the host stratigraphy for many of the large base-metal deposits in the region.

Drilling has returned anomalous levels of copper mineralisation in the majority of drill holes, with results including 8m at 0.25 per cent copper, hosting 1m at 0.42 per cent copper from 80m down-hole, in addition to the aforementioned result which perhaps provides a hint of what may be lurking beneath.

Results from the diamond core program have yet to be received, however, the breccia mineralisation was intersected in the upper sections of the drilling, with the deeper sections in the diamond holes encountering both porphyry veins with associated sulphides. The sulphide mineralisation in the drill core is disseminated in nature and estimated to run at up to 5 per cent of the total mass with chalcopyrite, a sulphide of copper, prominent in the logging of the drill core.

Native Minerals Managing Director, Blake Cannavo said:

“Initial RC drilling targeting the hydrothermal breccia zone at Leane’s has been hugely successful and has reinforced our view that this shallow copper system has the potential to support a much larger mineralised deposit at depth.”

“Importantly, Leane’s has never been drilled at depth and given we intersected the porphyry zone in our first diamond hole, our geological team is eager to get back on the ground early in the New Year to carry out further deep drilling.”

Native Mineral’s flagship Palmerville project is located in Far North Queensland, approximately 200km west-northwest of the regional centre of Cairns. The project stretches across 130km strike over the base metals rich Chilligoe Formation and covers around 1,820 square kilometres of the fertile mineral field.

Leane’s copper prospect is located in the central Palmerville project area with exploration targeting a range of mineralisation styles, including copper-gold porphyries and associated skarns. The company has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the various significant discoveries in the region, including the Red Dome, Mungana and Red Cap deposits, concluding that Leane’s shows features reminiscent of several of these discoveries.

The mineralisation model for Leane’s is a brecciated, copper-rich skarn which is being fed by a deeper porphyry copper-gold system. Various ASX-listed explorers and developers have thrived in the course of this year in the wake of such discoveries, with Alkane Resources’ Boda discovery in NSW contributing to that company’s shareprice more than tripling earlier this year.

Exploration across the Leane’s discovery has delineated a broad envelope of mineralisation which extends over more than 1,500m of strike and is up to 200m wide. An evaluation of the geochemical sampling indicates that the copper anomaly remains open to both the north and west, with drilling confirming the presence of subsurface copper mineralisation and returning intercepts of up to 28m at 0.55 per cent copper.

Curiously, drilling has only tested around 400m of strike across the Leane’s prospect leaving plenty of room to expand the mineralised envelope and for the system to be developed into a more significant discovery as systematic drill testing kicks off in the new year. The company’s ongoing review of the project terrane also continues to define a wealth of new targets for future testing with no less than eleven precious and base-metals targets vying for the company’s attention as it steams into 2021.

With drilling now slated to kick off again at Leane’s early in the new year and sampling continuing to return some tantalising intercepts of copper, Native Minerals looks set to stamp its own unique claim on the massive Palmerville project in Queensland as it seeks to uncover the next big porphyry discovery in the base-metal-rich terrane.                     by Matt Birney                    21/12/2020 – 12:30

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