Twiggy-backed Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) has made another copper grab with the iron ore miner to farm into Strategic Energy Resources (ASX: SER) and Tasman Resources’ (ASX: TAS) iron-oxide-copper-gold assets in South Australia, near BHP’s renowned Olympic Dam operation and Oak Dam West discovery.
With a dry pipeline of advanced copper projects and the mineral deemed critical for the surging lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sectors, mining majors such as BHP’s (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) have both been scooping up prospective copper ground across South Australia and Western Australia in recent years.
Not to be left behind, Andrew Forrest’s “Twiggy’s” Fortescue has also been pegging up copper ground in both regions over the last 18 months, and its agreement to farm-in to Strategic’s Myall Creek copper-gold project in South Australia will consolidate some of its holding in South Australia.
Strategic’s Myall Creek copper-gold project
Myall Creek is in proximity to BHP’s major Oak Dam West discovery. In November last year, BHP reported it had pulled up a 425.7m intersection at the prospect that ended in mineralisation.
The intersection graded 3.04% copper, 0.59 grams per tonne gold, 346 parts per million uranium and 6.03g/t silver.
Under its farm-in agreement with Strategic, Fortescue will spend $1.5 million on exploring Myall Creek over five years, including a minimum 1,500m drilling program.
This is expected to give Fortescue an 80% stake in the project.
“Strategic welcomes Fortescue joining the Myall Creek copper-gold project, bringing its substantial exploration and technical capability having discovered and developed some of the most significant mines in the world,” Strategic executive chairman Stuart Rechner said.
Tasman’s Vulcan exploration licence
Meanwhile, Fortescue has also executed an agreement to earn into Tasman’s Vulcan exploration licence which is only 30km from BHP’s Olympic Dam operation.
Under the initial terms, Fortescue can secure a 51% interest in the licence by spending $4 million on exploration over three years.
Fortescue can then elect to boost its ownership to 80% be spending a further $7 million on exploration over five years.
According to Tasman, it has been exploring the region for several years and has achieved “encouraging results” at the Vulcan prospect where 17 holes have been drilled to-date.
Notable results at Vulcan were 56.7m at 0.59% copper, 0.17g/t gold, with small amounts of uranium and silver also present.
The intersection includes a higher grade 7.8m interval with 1.21% copper and 0.35g/t gold.
Another highlight intersection at Vulcan was 21m at 1.69% copper and 1.05g/t gold.