An “outstanding” exploration season has given Meteoric Resources (ASX: MEI) the tools to forge ahead with its flagship Juruena copper-gold and epithermal gold projects in Brazil and the Palm Springs gold project in Western Australia.
Initial porphyry drilling continues at Juruena, with results to date intercepting broad zones of molybdenite and chalcopyrite and more localised zones of bornite within a strong potassic alteration typical of a porphyry copper-gold system.
Based on the confidence of these strong early indications, the company said it would proceed with an additional five holes to test the porphyry model.
Separate exploration at the Dona Maria and Querosene high-grade epithermal gold deposits produced a significant increase in the Juruena gold resource last month to 387,000 ounces grading 6.3 grams per tonne gold, including a 170% increase in the indicated category to 156,800oz at 17g/t.
The upgrade will allow Meteoric to update an existing Juruena scoping study and allow it to commence the mining licence application process with regulators in Brazil.
All of the high-grade epithermal gold projects at Juruena are believed to be open at depth and there is believed to be “considerable opportunity” for further resource growth with additional drilling.
In the meantime, the current mineral resource will underpin development options being assessed.
Managing director Dr Andrew Tunks said the work at Juruena is at the “pointy end” of the risk-reward ratio.
“Yes it is high risk, but we have already achieved remarkable results from only two holes into our program and [we believe] the project could be absolutely transformational for Meteoric,” he said.
“We have seen substantial thicknesses of sulphide mineralisation including copper and molybdenum minerals [and] in both holes, we have also intersected several potential gold zones with similar characteristics to low-sulphidation deposits at Dona Maria and Querosene.”
Treasure trove of data
Closer to home, the discovery of a “treasure trove” of original exploration and mining data for the Palm Springs project allowed for the early delivery of a maiden resource estimate in June totalling 357,000oz at 2.0g/t gold including an indicated 139,000oz at 2.24g/t.
A large portion of the indicated category is believed to occur in and beneath the floor of the historic Butchers Creek open pit mine, providing immediate ore for future development.
Meteoric has two drill rigs managing a 3800 metre program at Butchers Creek to target the high-grade fold hinge position and extend mineralisation down plunge to the south west.
“Our impressive progress at Palm Springs underpins our ability to grow and develop this project [and build on its] history of gold production,” Dr Tunks said.
“Importantly, we have been able to establish confidence in historic drilling data which allows us to accelerate development and start work on economic and pre-feasibility studies.”