Sandfire Resources (ASX: SFR) has struck copper mineralisation and massive sulphides from initial drilling at its joint venture project Morck’s Well East, where it is earning a majority stake from Auris Minerals (ASX: AUR) and Fe Ltd (ASX: FEL).
In February this year, Sandfire executed an agreement with Auris Minerals and Fe to earn up to 70% in Morck’s Well East where Auris Minerals’ holds an 80% interest and Fe retains 20%.
As part of the joint venture arrangement, Sandfire kicked-off a preliminary aircore drilling program across the project earlier this month.
Drilling to-date has already intersected massive sulphide and supergene copper zones, with samples sent off for analysis.
“Sandfire’s early exploration success at Morck’s Well is further validation of our strategy to partner with Sandfire on areas close to DeGrussa while Auris focuses on exploration its own substantive holdings in other parts of the Bryah Basin,” Auris Minerals chief executive officer Wade Evans said.
“I am very encouraged by the results of this early drilling and look forward to further news from follow up drilling,” Mr Evans said.
According to Auris Minerals, follow up exploration will include ground electromagnetic surveys, more aircore drilling and deep reverse circulation drilling.
The next round of exploration is scheduled to begin shortly with diamond drilling to start once Sandfire has secured requisite approvals.
Sandfire joint venture terms
In February this year, Sandfire forked out an initial A$1.2 million to Auris Minerals to earn a stake in Morck’s Well East and Auris Minerals’ wholly-owned Doolgunna project which are both found in Western Australia’s Bryah Basin, which is where Sandfire’s DeGrussa and Monty high-grade copper deposits are located.
As part of the arrangement, Sandfire will spend A$2 million on exploration across Morck’s Well East and another joint venture project Doolgunna, which are both in Western Australia.
If Sandfire progresses Morck’s Well East to completion of a feasibility study and proves up more than 50,000 tonnes of copper, its interest will increase to 70%, while Auris Minerals’ will reduce to 24% and Fe will retain 6%.
In addition to its payments to Auris Minerals, Sandfire will hand over A$300,000 to Fe, with both transactions to be in either cash or shares.
The news saw Auris Minerals’ share price sky rocket more than 73% to A$0.099 to become the ASX’s biggest gainer by early afternoon trade. Fe also fared well on the news, with its share price soaring more than 9% to A$0.035, while Sandfire’s stock price lifted almost 5% to hit A$8.65 during the same period.