Mineral explorer Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) has commenced a maiden diamond drilling program over eight priority targets within its Mendooran copper-gold project in New South Wales.
The company has kicked off the first of a planned two-hole program over 1,200m to test for large Ordovician copper-gold porphyry systems within basement rocks of the northern Molong Volcanic Belt, which lie under sedimentary basin cover sequences.
It is the first company to successfully gain all regulatory approvals and start drilling at the highly-prospective greenfield location.
‘Exciting and rewarding time’
Managing director Andrew Buxton said it was a “very exciting and highly-rewarding time” for the company and follows an extended application process at Mendooran following the 2018 withdrawal of Newcrest Operations (a subsidiary of Newcrest Mining, ASX: NCM).
“We are grateful to have been given the green light to test these significant targets which encompass a buried part of the highly-prospective Molong belt,” he said.
“Being the first movers to drill test Paleozoic basement rocks within this area provides a huge opportunity [for us] to potentially make a discovery … this is exactly what grassroots exploration is all about.”
The target features for maiden drilling are broad magnetic high anomalies, interpreted to represent magnetite-bearing Ordovician volcanic rocks which may hold potential to host significant copper-gold bearing intrusive porphyry systems.
They reside under younger sedimentary cover belonging to the Surat and Gunnedah Basins.
The anomalies span 22km along strike of the Mendooran tenement package and Alice Queen will test two locations in the south as an initial guide to the area’s prospectivity.
Mr Buxton said direct drilling costs would be assisted by a $200,000 grant under the NSW Government’s New Frontiers Co-operative Drilling initiative, in recognition of the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the Molong Volcanic Belt.