Junior explorer Auroch Minerals (ASX: AOU) has surprised market analysts with “spectacular” rock-chip sample results from its recently acquired Arden project in South Australia. Its rock-chip samples were analysed by highly-respected ALS Global laboratories in Adelaide.
The highlights of Auroch’s results came from three different prospects — the Ragless Range zinc target, the Kanyaka copper-cobalt target and the Radford Creek lead-zinc target. Each one delivered high-grade results including 6.97% zinc, 12.4% copper and 3.9% lead, respectively.
Auroch’s 90%-owned polymetallic Arden project has been confirmed to host several forms of mineralisation including zinc, lead, copper and interestingly, “cobalt stratiform sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) mineralisation”. The SEDEX find is particularly intriguing as it accounts for over half of the world’s zinc and lead production at the current time.
According to reports received from field testing, “extensive SEDEX-style mineralisation” was observed at all three of Auroch’s prospect areas (Ragless Range, Kanyaka and Radford Creek).
Walking in a metals wonderland
Arden is in the world-class base-metal mining region of South Australia, which hosts numerous large base-metal deposits including the Beltana zinc deposit, the Angas zinc deposit and the Kanmantoo copper deposit.
Within Auroch’s vicinity, existing mines include the Beltana zinc mine that boasts 972,000 tonnes of zinc for a contained 300,000t, the Angas zine mine with 1.29mt of zinc and the Kanmantoo copper mine with 34.5mt of copper.
Deposits with similar SEDEX-style mineralisation include the “giant” Mt Isa deposit in Queensland.
The variety of deposits at Mt Isa represent the largest confirmed accumulations of lead, zinc and silver in the world. The first records of Mt Isa’s polymetallic abundance were noted in 1923, with the area being mined continuously since then. According to geologists, there are 11 years of known reserves remaining.
Mt Isa’s deposits have another claim to fame: their physical remoteness compelled the creation of Australia’s world-famous Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The similarities between Mt Isa and Arden have led Auroch to believe it too can prove up a significant base-metals resource in South Australia and generate substantial commercial returns over the coming years.
The Arden project contains several historic artisanal mines for zinc, lead, copper, iron and manganese that were worked at various times between 1850 and 1920. However, since 1980, explorers operating in Auroch’s project area were focused on diamonds, with base-metals overlooked as viable commodities.
As such, Auroch says that “no systematic modern base-metal exploration has ever been undertaken” at the site — until now.
“The recent fieldwork at the Arden project has confirmed the presence of high-grade base-metal mineralisation over multiple target areas and highlights the potential for a substantial zinc, lead, copper and cobalt play supported by excellent infrastructure, which includes Nyrstar’s large base-metals smelter and refinery nearby in Port Pirie,” said Glenn Whiddon, executive chairman of Auroch Minerals.
“Auroch is excited by the prospect and has set an aggressive exploration programme to systematically evaluate the multiple target areas in 2018,” added Mr Whiddon.
With today’s high-grade results raising pulses at Auroch, the junior explorer has moved quickly to extend its exploration in the area with a high-resolution aeromagnetic survey already planned to be conducted in the next three months, alongside a surface geochemistry sampling programme.
Auroch also said that it had earmarked a drilling campaign over the highest-priority targets to take place the third quarter of this year.
Today’s rock chip results sent Auroch shares 22% higher, currently trading at A$0.11 per share.