Rio Tinto arm begins farm-in drilling program at Alderan Resources’ copper project

Alderan Resources ASX AL8 Kennecott Exploration Frisco joint venture Rio Tinto Copper Gulch
Copper Gulch is a 1.5km long anomaly that is 500m southwest of the historical Cactus Mine, where drilling intercepted 41m at 1.9% copper and 0.62g/t gold.

Alderan Resources’ (ASX: AL8) farm-in partner at its Frisco copper project in Utah, Kennecott Exploration (KEX), has begun drilling the Copper Gulch prospect there.

A subsidiary of Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), KEX has the right to earn up to a 70% stake in Frisco by spending US$30 million on exploration over 10 years.

The first stage requires US$6 million to be spent by November 2023, which will take KEX to 55% ownership of the project.

KEX targeting both copper and molybdenum

Copper Gulch lies 500m southwest of the Cactus mine — one of Utah’s largest historical copper operations — and this latest drilling follows drone magnetic results and confirmation of elevated copper in historical rock samples.

Frisco was explored historically, including by Alderan, before the farm-in agreement with KEX was signed in November 2019.

KEX has two objectives at Frisco: one, porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposits and, two, high-grade copper deposits.

KEX’s parent, Rio Tinto operates the Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah, which is one of the largest copper mines in the US.

Alderan says potential for ‘Rio Tinto-scale’ deposit

Frisco is located 300m southwest of Salt Lake City, and the project area contains numerous historical copper-gold and lead-zinc-silver mines, including the Horn silver mine, the Cactus and Imperial copper mines.

Alderan has previously stated that Frisco had the potential to become a “Rio Tinto-scale” operation.

The Copper Gulch anomaly is about 1.6km long and 500m wide.

KEX has committed to one drill hole with a second to follow (dependent on results).

Alderan says previous holes drilled by KEX and Alderan on the margins of the Copper Gulch target had intersected copper and molybdenum mineralisation.

Drilling by KEX in 2020 returned assays at Frisco including 41m at 1.9% copper, 0.62 grams per tonne gold, 7.1g/t silver and 62.8 parts per million molybdenum.

Another hole intersected mineralisation over 34m at 0.99% copper, 0.14g/t gold and 13.3g/t silver.

Results ‘clearly’ defined targets

KEX identified the Copper Gulch target following completion of in-house processing and modelling of its drone magnetics and orthophoto surveys, field inspections and review of historical core from holes drilled on the margins of the target.

The aerial surveys covered the majority of Sawmill Canyon, which hosts Cactus, in greater detail than previous aerial surveys with a total of 21.5sq km flown for magnetics at 25m line spacing.

“Results clearly define already known targets and highlight Copper Gulch,” Alderan said in this latest release.

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