Junior explorer High Grade Metals (ASX: HGM) has completed its maiden drilling season in Austria, with a total eight holes drilled at the flagship Leogang copper-cobalt and Schellgaden gold projects.
Recovered cores from each project area are being moved to a central facility where they can be properly logged and sampled, with geochemical results expected in early 2019.
In the meantime, the company is working on a work program for the new year, with a focus on deeper holes at Schellgaden and simplified vertical holes at Leogang.
It will also address enquiries from interested corporate entities with respect to potential partnerships at both projects.
High Grade said initial difficulties were encountered in drilling the four low angle holes at Leogang, within the Schwarzelo Valley, where unstable formations made the job “extremely challenging”.
Drilling was focused on the historic high-grade Nockelberg prospect, which was a source of cobalt ore for artisanal mining stretching back over 400 years.
The full program will comprise nine diamond holes from three drill pad locations, with a focus on reducing movement of the drill rigs and minimising the amount of time between holes.
The holes are planned to ‘fan’ down through areas of historically high-grade material and will be supported by geochemical and geophysical data acquired throughout the year.
The company said adjustments made during the first four holes indicate the methods and angles of drilling required for the remainder of the program.
“Whilst the structural complexity of the area has been greater than we could have anticipated, the presence of what appears to be large geological structures is extremely positive,” it said.
“These are hypothesised to be potentially both the conduits, and areas of deposition, for mineralisation found historically throughout the project area.”
Rich mining district
By comparison to Leogang, drilling conditions at the Schellgaden exploration area, within the historic Schellgaden mining district, were “very positive, [achieving] excellent recoveries and timely rates of penetration” despite weather conditions affecting access to some of the target areas.
Long considered one of Austria’s richest and most active gold mining districts, High Grade’s activities encountered mineralised geological sequences at Schellgaden’s historic Stüblbau and Schulterbau mines, within the project’s boundaries.
“This validates our geological model downslope from the mine, 1.5 kilometres towards the Katschberg tunnel,” it said.
“The focus of next year’s program will be to intersect the same mineralised sequence deeper down, in addition to appraisal drilling around the old mine workings.”
In October, High Grade successfully increased the exploration licence at Schellgaden by 30 square kilometres to 100sqkm.
The increase was designed to secure all prospective land in the northern part of the project’s acreage in light of new geological information suggesting the mineralisation may extend into this area.
At midday, shares in High Grade Metals were down 7.14% to $0.013.