Lode Resources receives government and CSIRO support to help unlock Webbs Consol silver project
Backed by new government funding and the know-how of Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, Lode Resources (ASX: LDR) has begun a new program of activities to unlock the rich potential of the Webbs Consol silver-base metals project in New South Wales.
Lode has confirmed that the CSIRO has commenced a collaborative research study on the Webbs Consol at the New England Fold Belt mining project, aiming to better understand the controls of silver-base metal mineralisation in this historic mining location.
The CSIRO is bringing its technical skills and an allocated researcher onboard to evaluate and process newly acquired and existing geophysical, lithological, and geochemical data as the basis for building a 3D model of the prospect.
Government funding support
The new program is receiving support under an Australian government Innovation Connections Grant covered by the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.
Under the program guidelines, CSIRO will receive funding from the Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources which is balanced by Lode’s committed expenditure on the study.
Lode’s managing director, Ted Leschke, said the CSIRO study is looking to prove the style of mineralisation and the deposit source at Webbs Consol, including identifying if there are analogues with other known deposits.
Looking for new targets
Mr Leschke said the results will enhance Lode’s ongoing exploration and help identify new drilling targets.
“The company is very pleased to have engaged the CSIRO for the study at Webbs Consol as it provides Lode with access to the CSIRO’s expertise in the fields of geochemical and structural vectoring and 3D modelling,” he said.
“The improved understanding of the controls of mineralisation should allow for better drill targeting beyond the current drill program. The very significant drill results achieved to date are well beyond our initial expectations and this indicates that the prospectivity of silver-base metal mineralisation associated with the Webbs Consol Leucogranite is very strong and extensive, and completely overlooked by previous explorers.”
Field work by the CSIRO has included the acquisition of data and samples from 9 diagnostic drill hole cores.
State-of-the-art technology in play
The science agency has used state-of-the-art technology in that core acquisition campaign including the use of fourier transform infrared data (FTIR).
The CSIRO programme has also included acquiring drill core data at regular interval so as to investigate major lithology/alteration changes.
The agency will utilise the spectra data to better characterise the mineralogy of major alteration zones, particularly when it comes to phyllosilicates like chlorites, sericite, and kaolinite which are proxies for chloritic, phyllic, and argillic alterations, respectively. Initial analysis has already provided important information.
The CSIRO also took 144 structural measurements at 62 locations in the field, with initial findings identifying distinct populations of fractures and veins.
Other targets to be tested
Earlier this month, Lode revealed it had identified multiple new Webbs Consol targets through geophysics and initial geochemistry work.
The company revealed it had defined a further six targets after extensive multi-discipline geophysical surveys were completed in areas with no historical mining and often under cover.
Notably, the company found that these targets have a stronger geophysical signature than the main Tango West prospect and may indicate additional high-grade silver-base metal deposits.
Lode is currently testing the Tango West Lode with drilling at depth.
Innovation Connections Grant
The Federal government’s Innovation Connections Grants provide support for undertaking industry-led R&D.
In Lode’s case, the project funds the placement of a CSIRO researcher in the business to work collaboratively on a specific Innovation Connections project, aiming to develop its understanding of the Webbs Consol silver deposits in order to realise their commercial potential.
Webbs Consol has rich history
The historic Webbs Consol silver project was discovered back in 1890 and was the site of intermittent mining up to the mid-1950s.
The project area contains several small, high-grade, silver-lead-zinc-gold deposits.
Several mine shafts were worked for the high-grade galena and silver content only, with high-grade zinc mineralisation discarded.
Historical sampling has identified the potential for high-grade silver and zinc mineralisation.
It was reported that 12 spot samples, taken from the lowest level of the main Webbs Consol shaft at a depth of 60m, averaged 210 grams per tonne of silver, 22.6% zinc, and 2.74% lead
The silver price is forecast to reach around $40 by end of 2023 with a year-to-year change of +12%.