Drilling by UK-based explorer Adriatic Metals (ASX: ADT) has delivered the thickest and highest-grade intercepts to date at the Rupice zinc, lead, silver, gold, copper and barium deposit within the Vareš project in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Assays from several holes have demonstrated the “exceptional” grade, continuity and thickness of mineralisation at Rupice, and will contribute to the project’s maiden mineral resource estimate scheduled for release by mid-year.
The first hole intercepted a very thick zone of high-grade mineralisation over 72 metres, returning 18.3% zinc, 10.7% lead, 211 grams per tonne silver, 2.5g/t gold and 2.5% copper from 206m, and 46m at 25% barium sulphate from 216m.
Based on samples returning greater than 5% lead or zinc, the best interval was 56m at 23.2% zinc, 13.6% lead, 254g/t silver, 3g/t gold and 3.1% copper from 218m.
Adriatic said the interval was drilled in a south-westerly direction and appears to be the merging of the two high-grade zones intersected 30m up dip from a previous hole.
Among the results were assays of 46m at 12.7% zinc, 9.6% lead, 309g/t silver, 4.1g/t gold, 1.0% copper and 40% barium sulphate from 218m; and 20m at 8.2% zinc, 5.6% lead, 479g/t silver, 4.1g/t gold, 0.5% copper and 60% barium sulphate from 228m.
Also returned was 36m at 4.9% zinc, 3.2% lead, 306g/t silver, 2.7g/t gold, 0.5% copper, and 45% barium sulphate from 228m; and 32m at 2.1% zinc, 2.6% lead, 220g/t silver, 2g/t gold, 0.2% copper and 32% barium sulphate, also from 228m.
Chief executive officer Geraint Harris said the new intercepts “substantially improve” the company’s geological understanding of the Rupice region.
“We hope to eventually extend the high-grade zones to the north and south-east and also to improve our understanding of the system between Rupice North and Jurasevac-Brestic,” he said.
“We remain focused on drilling for extensions to grow the known mineralisation ahead of the maiden resource estimate later this year.”
Today’s intercepts at Rupice support Adriatic’s re-interpretation of the deposit’s high-grade mineralisation as two separate and subparallel zones – an upper and a lower lens – which plunge to the north and confirm their significant potential outside of the current drilling coverage.
The near surface extent of the upper lens has been the focus of historical drilling and remains open down-plunge.
The lower lens is open in both directions and provides “meaningful” exploration growth potential.
Two of the holes were drilled to confirm the southerly extent of mineralisation intersected in an earlier campaign and which the company said appeared “much lower in the sequence than expected”.
“The results of these holes further indicate a potentially new south-east extension to the Rupice zone and will be the focus of our ongoing drilling,” Mr Harris said.
Meanwhile, Adriatic continues to move forward with metallurgical, geotechnical and hydrogeological studies at Rupice, the results of which will feed into project milestones such as a scoping study, an exploitation permit application and a feasibility study.
At mid-morning, shares in Adriatic Metals were 9.6% higher at $0.685.