Drilling at Alice Queen’s (ASX: AQX) Mendooran copper-gold project within New South Wales’ Lachlan Fold Belt has confirmed the presence of prospective Macquarie Arc rocks along the Molong Volcanic Belt (MVB).
Two holes were drilled targeting magnetic features indicative of MVB-type rocks, with the first intersecting andesitic rocks from 346m to end-of-hole at 763.4m.
Lithogeochemical analysis showed the rocks match with MVB rocks in the Boda area and in other parts of the MVB further south.
Slightly elevated copper levels (to greater than 300 parts per million) were also intersected over significant portions of the same rocks.
The second hole failed to reach MVB rocks by end-of-hole at 681m, indicating that the Belt has been down-faulted in this more westerly position.
Three historic holes at Mendooran were drilled by an Alice Queen-Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) joint venture in 2017, with all of them intersecting MVB andesitic rocks at depths of 200m and 237m in the southern part of project area, and 714m in the far northern part.
The latter hole was 22.5km north of the company’s latest drilling program which kicked off in February.
The distance between both is completely unexplored with cover up to 700m thick and believed to be “quite permissive” for underground bulk mining similar to that employed by Newcrest at its Cadia operation.
Chief technical advisor John Holliday said the unexplored area is cut by a north-west to south-east cross-arc structure of the scale associated with Cadia and Kaiser-Boda.
“Our exploration at Mendooran is at a very early stage,” he said.
“Given the frequency of extensive mineralisation [such as Cadia] further south on the exposed part of the Belt, it is very likely there will be a similar occurrence in Mendooran and we look forward to more drilling particularly in that cross-arc structure area.”
The Macquarie Arc rocks of the Lachlan Fold Belt have developed into Australia’s porphyry copper-gold exploration hotspot, as seen by Alkane Resources’ (ASX: ALK) Kaiser-Boda discovery, which lies 11km south of Mendooran along the MVB.
Alice Queen’s target concept is a large MVB-type porphyry copper-gold complex such as Cadia and Kaiser-Boda.
In the Mendooran project area, the MVB rocks are covered by younger basin sediments and have been explored to date by five Alice Queen drill holes along a 40km extent.