Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) has begun its fully-funded exploration program for 2021 with diamond drilling at its Boda East copper-gold project in NSW and with farm-in partner St Barbara (ASX: SBM) also drilling for gold on Horn Island off the northern Queensland coast.
Alice Queen said work has begun “in earnest”.
However, the company noted that “significant delays” are being experienced at assay laboratories across the country which meant that Alice Queen is still waiting for 2020 assay results.
This comes as there has been a surge of drilling activity across Australia following rising gold and commodity prices and expectations.
Alice Queen said it has, as a result, been restricted in its ability to report last year’s results.
Steady news flow over next few months
“However, we expect increased news flow for all of these programs during the first quarter and look forward to sharing our pending assay results as soon as they become available,” the company added.
At Boda East, the 2021 diamond drilling program kicked off on January 10 at Hole 10, 1km north of the previously drilled Hole 8.
Construction of all drill pads at the Mendooran prospect has been completed with the drill program ready to begin.
Boda East is located about 700m from the large porphyry copper-gold discovery made last year by Alkane Resources (ASX: ALK).
The project sits on a 13km-long north-south trend.
So far, eight holes have been drilled there, with only one assay received to date.
That first assay showed two 1m intercepts: one returning 0.9% copper and 0.07 grams per tonne gold (from 326m), and the other coming back with 0.62% copper and 0.13g/t from 435m down hole.
Eight priority targets
At Mendooran, eight high priority targets have been identified within the Goonoo Goonoo state conservation area, and these targets have never been drilled.
So far $1 million has been invested in target generation.
Boda East consists of four tenements covering 700sq km along strike from the Cadia operation of Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM).
The company says there has been a lack of exploration due to the presence of cover which masks the underlying geology.
“Increasingly, the Northern Molong Volcanic Belt is proving to be a fertile and target-rich district with considerable recent investment and activity,” Alice Queen noted in a recent presentation.
Drilling back on at Horn Island
Meanwhile, St Barbara has completed a maiden drill program of 13 holes for 4,590m on Horn Island.
All the cores were submitted before Christmas for assays.
The farm-in partner resumed drilling last Sunday.
Horn Island has a JORC gold resource of 7.9 million tonnes at 1.9g/t for a contained 492,000oz.
Some 35sq km on the island have been mapped and sampled.