Freehill Mining (ASX: FHS) has kicked off the copper drilling campaign at its wholly-owned Yerbas Buenas high-grade magnetite project in Chile.
Earlier this week, Freehill revealed it had uncovered “strong” copper mineralisation within the project’s northern area, which has been previously unexplored.
A geochemical study on the north-eastern portion of the project was recently completed on two previously identified induced polarisation anomalies.
The study involved collecting 164 rock chip samples and 40 soil sediment samples, which were analysed for copper, gold, cobalt, tellurium and iron.
Freehill noted the samples confirmed the presence of “encouraging” copper and gold with grades up to 0.9% copper and 0.17 grams per tonne gold.
Additionally, sampling has identified several targets for copper, gold and iron which will be followed up in the drilling program.
In the copper program, two initial holes will be drilled to 400m depths to test the full extent of the IP anomalies.
Freehill chief executive officer Peter Hinner said the geophysical study had revealed Yerbas Buenas has “considerable” potential for gold and copper.
He added that although the company has been focusing on the magnetite potential at the project, it is confident the copper side will grow.
“We’re in a copper region dominated by the very active La Higuera mines and large projects such as Andes Iron Santa Dominga, and this, together with the artisanal copper/gold mines on our northern tenement boundary, gave us enough confidence to carry out geophysics and geochemical surveys,” Mr Hinner explained.
“Each activity has provided enough confidence to go to the next step, which has culminated in the drilling of our first test hole, which is effectively positioned over the northern IP structure.”
“The ES001 hole is a test hole to see if the anomaly is hosted with copper sulphide and we should see fairly soon whether that is proved,” he added.
Copper exploration is being undertaken in parallel with iron ore drilling at the project, which is focusing on the YB6 magnetite target, which Mr Hinner claims is “extremely high-grade”.
While assays are pending on drilling at YB6, at the start of the month, Mr Hinner noted the drill core that had been pulled up was “visually stunning”.
Using a handheld magnetic susceptibility metre, results indicated widths and grades of 104m at 38% iron from 34m, 91m at 47% iron from 37m, and 70m at 46% iron from 110m.
Previous testing on the ore had shown it can be readily upgraded to a high-quality concentrate assaying between 64% and 68% iron.
Mr Hinner said the high-grade nature of the material that has been intersected near surface and at depth reinforces the company’s view it is sitting on a large and high-grade magnetite ore body.
He added the company looked forward to reporting assays from drilling at the project.