Middle Island Resources (ASX: MDI) has added 1,363sq km of iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) prospective land to its Barkly super-project in the Northern Territory following the lifting of a moratorium over the area.
The NT Government this week allocated varying portions of four contested exploration licence applications to the gold explorer, effectively expanding the company’s project area to 10 licence applications covering 3,253sq km.
The allocations make up between 19% and 95% of the company’s applications, with the land being subject to partially or wholly competing applications from several companies including mining major Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM), which already holds surrounding or adjoining applications along the axis of the East Tennant Ridge.
Middle Island said the competing applications from Newcrest, as well as competing submissions in the Tennant Creek area by mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), were a “strong endorsement of the project’s technical merit and strategy”.
“This strategy positions the company as a first-mover within the newly identified East Tennant province, extending beneath Georgina Basin cover across the Barkly Tableland and highly prospective for tier one IOCG targets. The broader Tennant Creek footprint already hosts high-grade gold and copper-gold deposits and mines,” the company stated.
Middle Island managing director Rick Yeates said the process was “very equitable” and the company is pleased with the outcome.
“Middle Island has secured priority areas and targets in several cases, and the allocated areas also include or immediately adjoin three sites planned for much anticipated government stratigraphic basement drilling during 2020,” Middle Island managing director Rick Yeates added.
These latest allocations add to the six applications covering 1,890sq km that had already been accepted by the NT Government in full in November.
Initial work will focus on capturing any outstanding open file and pre-competitive data, the modelling of exploration targets and the planning of high-resolution geophysical surveys to refine modelled targets in preparation for drill testing.
East Tennant exploration
The East Tennant province has been rapidly gaining attention as a priority, yet largely unexplored, IOCG mineral province.
It was selected as one of the focus areas for the Exploring for the Future program, a $100.5 million initiative by the Australian Government aimed at boosting investment in Australian mineral exploration.
An exploration licence moratorium over the Barkly Tableland region was lifted in October 2019 and Middle Island immediately lodged applications over the area, having already identified several priority targets.