Austral and Mount Isa Mines (MIM) have executed Non-binding Earn-in Agreement term sheets for MIM to explore 330km2 of Austral tenements surrounding MIM’s Lady Loretta Mine and Austral’s Lady Annie copper Mine, and Austral to explore for copper oxide over MIM’s 116km2 neighbouring Russell Fault tenement.
The agreements are a value generating exploration play for both groups, utilising new geophysical data over the area that has both validated existing targets and generated new targets, some of which are drill ready. Drilling will commence as soon as practicable following completion of definitive documentation
Austral’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Tambanis, commented:
“We are excited to collaborate with Glencore on this exploration JV in Queensland’s Northwest Minerals Province. Both parties hold a significant tenure position within the region, and it makes absolute sense to combine the tenure for an intensive exploration programme. Glencore are our offtake partners for 40,000t of our Anthill copper cathode and we look forward to working together from an exploration perspective.
This is a win-win transaction for both Austral and Glencore with the potential to discover new orebodies that can extend operations of both companies in the region. Glencore is focussed on discovering new base/precious metal orebodies in this metal-rich area and Austral believes there is excellent potential to define additional oxide copper resources to be processed at its nearby Mt Kelly SXEW plant.
The prospectivity of the area has been significantly enhanced by two new geophysical datasets (Heli-VTEM and a separate fixed wing Falcon Gravity survey) flown by Glencore in late 2021 and processed earlier this year. This new data has generated a number of priority targets for the JV and drilling is expected to commence within months.
Of note, Austral has retained its rights to explore for oxide copper mineralisation on its own tenure and has negotiated the right to explore MIM’s tenure for oxide copper mineralisation. Austral believes that the increased drilling activity in this area will yield more shallow copper oxide mineralisation. Of Austral’s 2,100km2 of EPM tenure, this Earn-in agreement applies to a 330km2 portion immediately about the Lady Loretta Mine. Austral retains 1,800km2 of EPMs for other exploration initiatives.
Austral recently commenced processing ore from its Anthill Copper Mine – building to rate of 10,000tpa of copper cathode from mid-2022 for a four-year period. This will now allow the company to increase the pace of its exploration and development activities.
We look forward to further updating shareholders as we build copper production from Anthill and scale-up exploration and development activities.”