Metalicity (ASX: MCT) has firmed up high priority copper targets across its exploration licences in the Pilbara’s Paterson Province, close to Rio Tinto’s (ASX: RIO) rumoured copper discovery and Greatland Gold’s (AIM: GGP) actual “world-class” find.
According to Metalicity, the targets were identified after a first pass review across it Mandora and Desert Queen projects, which are along strike and associated with the same structures believed to host Rio’s unconfirmed find.
The projects cover 2,166 square kilometres in exploration licence applications within the Paterson Province and are also close to Antipa Resources (ASX: AZY) Paterson and North Telfer projects, where active exploration is underway.
Four primary targets have been identified and total 908sq km across both projects.
“The target areas defined are extensive, defined from geophysical and geological modelling utilising structural controls of known copper mineralisation in the Paterson including those activities undertaken by Rio Tinto, and where the company’s tenements are well-located to the north and south,” Metalicity managing director Matt Gauci said.
Mr Gauci added the company anticipated it would be granted the exploration licences in 2019, with exploration to including field work and remote sensing surveys.
Pilbara’s Paterson Province
As the copper frenzy heats up, the Paterson Province is being looked over with fresh eyes.
For the past 12 months, Rio has increased its presence in the region as well as Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), with both companies pegging up as much ground as possible.
Rumours have continued to gain traction regarding Rio stumbling across a major discovery in the area. However, the major is yet to confirm or deny the rumours.
Despite the lack of confirmation, many explorers have moved into the region including Metalicity with its new exploration licences.
Rumours were also fuelled when late last month, Greatland reported it has unearthed a “world-class” 275m thick intersection at its Havieron project in the province.
The 275m intersection comprised an upper zone of 118m grading 3.08 grams per tonne gold and 0.84% copper from 459m. It also contained a lower zone of 157m at 6.04g/t gold and 0.44% copper from 660m.
Within both zones, several high-grade intervals were noted grading up to 211.3g/t gold and 8.45% copper.
According to Greatland, the discoveries have been partly a result of modern drilling equipment which enable deeper anomalies to be more easily tested.
With Rio and other mining giant BHP (ASX: BHP) both reporting they were actively prioritising copper exploration in the coming months, investor interest in the commodity is undergoing a revival.
The copper market is staring down a future of a dry project pipeline and rising consumption.
Although the copper price is down from US$3.3 per pound in June to its current price of US$2.80/lb, analysts argue this is largely a result of trade tensions between the US and China.
Experts anticipate the price will rise as inventories continue to deplete.
By early afternoon trade, Metalicity’s share price was up almost 20% to $0.019.