Junior metals explorer Orinoco Gold (ASX: OGX) has served up some encouraging rock chip sample results from its Tinteiro prospect in Brazil.
The prospect is part of the broader Faina Goldfields project which Orinoco hopes to expand and potentially diversify with the discovery of base metals.
The company is actively deploying its A$3 million exploration budget which swelled in March this year after a successful share placement.
On a mission to expand its metals portfolio and supplement its existing gold production with new-age battery metals such as cobalt, Orinoco reported 54 rock chip samples from Tinteiro showing cobalt grades as high as 1.75%, with 0.5% nickel and 0.6% copper.
The noteworthy surprise stems from the fact that its high-grade cobalt samples were found only 1.2 kilometres from its Cascavel gold and silver mine – potentially a sign of strong resource expansion in the future, although further exploration is required to confirm the extent of its polymetallic ambitions.
Brazilian base metals and gold
Orinoco has said its most recent results indicate encouraging signs of nickel and cobalt mineralisation and is hopeful of being able to capitalise on the fact that three of its best assays were found 1.2 kilometres from its Cascavel gold mine.
Orinoco has had its spirits lifted by an independent study reported in the Brazilian Journal of Geology on December 2017 titled “Prospectivity Analysis of Gold and Iron Oxide Copper-Gold-(Silver) Mineralisation from the Faina Greenstone Belt, Brazil”.
The study used multiple data sets and noted that Central Tinteiro Area 3 and South-east Tinteiro Area 5 appeared to highlight cobalt prospectivity with concentrations above 10,000 ppm in some areas. The findings have since spurred Orinoco into action.
The new high-grade samples have suggested Orinoco should turn its attention closer to Cascavel in the Central Tinteiro Area 3, with the company announcing it plans to take another 50 rock samples from close to Cascavel “next week”.
“The mineralisation around the Cascavel mine continues to surprise us. Reported gold panel samples of 300 g/t at Mestre and Cuca, reported silver mineralisation of 2 metres grading 6,680 g/t and now cobalt rock chip samples grading up to 1.75% bearing copper and nickel illustrates the prospectivity of Cascavel and neighbouring Tinteiro,” said Jeremy Gray, director of Orinoco.
Orinoco says that whilst its primary focus is gold production at Cascavel and exploration for gold at Cascavel, Antena, Sertão and Eliseo, the ongoing evidence of high-grade cobalt, copper, nickel, gold and silver rock chip samples at Tinteiro suggest the need for a separate drill programme.
“With only 7 drill holes totalling 221 metres done at Tinteiro in 2014 when cobalt prices were a fraction of where they are today it is time to consider a much more meaningful drill programme in Q3 2018 in conjunction with the ramp-up of our gold production,” he added.
However, the polymetallic explorer has cooled expectations by adding that whilst rock chip sampling is an important tool to determine evidence of cobalt mineralisation, “the true test will still come once we commence a drilling campaign in Q3 2018.”
“Management is excited about the prospects of Cascavel and Tinteiro and the potential for a much larger mining footprint than currently exists today,” the explorer said.