The South Australian Government has now granted Argonaut operational approval to undertake ground gravity surveys and deep exploration drilling across the project, which is prospective for iron-oxide-copper-gold mineralisation.
“The approval of our environmental and operational plan is a major step towards the discovery of copper by Argonaut in the Eastern Gawler Craton,” Argonaut chief executive officer Lindsay Owler said.
“The project includes numerous large gravity targets that are analogous to BHP’s nearby Oak Dam discovery.”
Mr Owler added the discovery rate for gravity anomalies in the area was so high that “none should go undrilled”.
Before drilling can get underway, Argonaut must lodge an application seeking authorisation under the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Argonaut anticipates this application will be considered in April.
Murdie project and proximity to Oak Dam
The Murdie project covers 1,000 square metres and hosts more than 50 discrete gravity targets.
According to Argonaut, the targets are within the margin of the same Donnington Suite granite body that hosts Oak Dam and OZ Minerals’ (ASX: OZL) Carrapateena deposits.
Additionally, the anomalies are “gravity only”, which can be indicative of iron-oxide-copper-gold deposits that have been altered from magnetite dominant, low grade systems to high-grade, hematite-dominant iron-oxide-copper-gold systems.
The spotlight was shone on BHP in late 2018 after it revealed it had unearthed a 425.7m intersection at its Oak Dam prospect.
The massive intercept ended in mineralisation and graded 3.04% copper, 0.59 grams per tonne gold, 346 parts per million uranium and 6.03g/t silver.
Within the intercept was a higher-grade interval of 180m at 6.07% copper, 0.92g/t gold, 401ppm uranium and 12.77g/t silver.
Since then, BHP has been actively exploring the asset, with a third phase drilling campaign due to finish in the June quarter after positive results from previous drilling phases.
By late afternoon trade, Argonaut’s shares were up 50% to $0.006.