Drilling at Northern Cobalt’s (ASX: N27) Wollogorang project in the Northern Territory has confirmed an increase to the extent of known copper mineralisation associated with the GregJo Fault, approximately 4 kilometres south of the project’s flagship Stanton cobalt deposit.
The mineralised envelope now extends more than 400 metres along strike and 120m across strike of GregJo and remains open in both directions.
Drilling activities continue to intersect thick intervals of copper mineralisation of up to 20m with grades of up to 0.5% copper, and higher-grade intervals of up to 4m and 5% copper.
Best intersections include 4m at 1.14% copper from 12m; and 18m at 0.5% copper from 1m including 1m at 1.1% copper from 13m, and 1m at 1.06% copper from 18m.
Also reported was an 11m intersection at 0.45% copper from 16m, including 1m at 1.22% copper from 18m.
Sulphide mineralisation was identified at depth in some holes and will be targeted with deeper drilling as well as a planned induced polarisation survey to help define zones with significant thicknesses of high-grade mineralisation at depth.
A significant copper system
Northern Cobalt said the positive results have prompted an expanded drilling program at GregJo which is expected to continue until month end.
Speaking with Small Caps, managing director Michael Schwarz said the prospect is turning into a significantly-mineralised copper system.
“The GregJo prospect is growing in size and now has a larger footprint than the Stanton deposit,” he said.
“These results prove that this [Wollogorang] project is mineralised beyond Stanton and our drilling continues to extend it further north-west and south-east along strike of the fault.”
In addition to the emerging copper prospect at GregJo, Mr Schwarz said the company has identified “at least two additional drill targets” along the same fault – GregJo West which occurs 1.2km to the northwest along the same fault structure, and GregJo East which is 1.8 km to the southeast.
Both targets consist of a magnetic low along the GregJo Fault and have shown anomalous copper and cobalt values during a regional aircore drilling program.
Electric vehicles market
Northern Cobalt has discovered there is more than just cobalt at the Stanton deposit.
Copper is also often found in the outer parts of the mineralised body and could help the explorer to crack into the electric vehicles market, where copper is a critical element in the production process.
Electric vehicles use a substantial amount of the metal in their batteries and in the windings and copper rotors used in their motors – just one EV can contain up to six kilometres of copper wiring.
Research shows the growing number of EVs hitting global roads is set to fuel a nine-fold increase in copper demand from the sector over the coming decade, from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74mt in 2027.
While Northern Cobalt was “quietly confident” that Stanton would reveal a valuable cobalt resource during drilling last year, it had yet to prove the existence of significant mineralisation outside of that system.
This week’s discovery of a larger copper system in at least two individual fault structures at GregJo provides the company with the diversification it has been chasing.
“GregJo gives us a diversification of commodities that are used in the EV and consumer electronics industries,” Mr Schwarz said.
“It shows that our exploration techniques are working and gives us confidence [that we can make] additional discoveries at our other high priority targets.”
The geology of the Wollogarang region is dominated by the Gold Creek volcanics which run directly through Northern Cobalt’s tenements.
While the full potential of the region is yet to be realised, Mr Schwarz said surface indicators to date have been good news for the company’s exploration efforts.
“Seeing mineralisation at surface is always very exciting – it shows that the potential is present and there is very likely something to be found,” he said.
“We know there is copper below us which has leached up and been deposited on the cracks in some of the surface rocks, and that copper is associated with cobalt mineralisation.
“Finding minerals like [copper] at surface is a good indication that we’re drilling in the right spot.”