Sultan Resources (ASX: SLZ) is all set to ramp up exploration on newly acquired ground in the Lachlan Fold Belt in central NSW, a region that has been described as “the hottest mining address in Australia” and “Australia’s premier exploration region”.
Enthusiasm for the Lachlan belt has been building, slowly at first, after Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) started production at its Cadia copper-gold mine in 1998 (and which in 2019 was producing gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $132/oz.)
But it was the discovery last year by Alkane Resources (ASX: ALK) that turned excitement into to a frenzy.
Drilling at Alkane’s new Boda discovery hit mineralisation over 1,167m at 0.55 grams per tonne gold and 0.25% copper from a depth of 75m, including 96.8m at 3.97g/t gold and 1.52% copper from 768m.
Another notable intersection from recent drilling by Alkane at Boda included 689m at 0.46g/t gold and 0.19% copper.
Earlier this month, Sultan shareholders overwhelming voted in favour of acquiring Colossus Metals, a private company that owned what Sultan has described as three “highly prospective” porphyry copper-gold targets, one located north of Gulgong and two south-east of Wellington.
Sultan said all three targets, Big Hill, Ringaroo and Tucklan, displayed similar geological, geochemical and geophysical characteristics to the mineralisation at Alkane’s Boda discovery.
There are no records of historic drilling at any of the three targets.
The Colossus vendors of the three properties, now controlled by Sultan, include mineral exploration professionals with a combined 50-plus years of working on the Lachlan Orogen (a belt of the earth’s crust involved in the formation of mountains) in NSW. They were closely connected to the discoveries of the McPhillamy’s two-million ounce gold deposit, and to the Tomingley deposit.
These Colossus vendors conducted ground field work across the three targets during the first quarter this year, producing rock chip samples and soil sampling grids.
These are undergoing laboratory analysis at Orange and results are expected by the end of May.
Apart from Cadia, the active miners on the Lachlan belt include Alkane at the Tomingley gold mine, Evolution Mining (ASX: EVN) with its Lake Cowal operation and China Molybdenum at the Northparkes.
Rich mining history on Lachlan belt
In 1851 Australia’s first payable gold mining operation, Ophir, was located on the Lachlan belt, about 30km north-east of Orange.
There were further stunning finds to be made: the Lucknow field produced 400,000 ounces of gold at a staggering average grade of 100g/t, while the Hill End gold field yielded more than 50 tonnes of gold in its heyday.
Over the 149 years since that first discovery, the belt has supported mines producing gold, copper, zinc, lead, silver and tin.
Until the early years of this century, the Lachlan Fold Belt — and NSW generally — was regarded as a “mature” region, where it was assumed all the large discoveries had been made.
That has since been proved to be a misapprehension.
Sultan well-funded for exploration
Sultan claims that, with more than $2.3 million in cash, it is well placed to fund exploration on the acquisition “well into the future”.
The exploration budget has been approved and work has begun on the new ground.
Other explorers active on the Lachlan belt include Golden Deeps (ASX: GED), RareX (REE) — a rare earths hopeful that recently gained full ownership of the Orange East gold project — along with former tin hopeful AusTin Mining (ASX: ANW) which is now hunting copper, and juniors Kaiser Reef (ASX: KAU) — listed in February — and Krakatoa Resources (ASX: KTA).