‘World-class’ copper-gold intersection uncovered at Paterson Province, Rio Tinto ups exploration ante in the Pilbara

World class copper gold intersection Paterson Province Rio Tinto exploration Pilbara Greatland Gold
Greatland Gold has unearthed a 275m intersection comprising numerous high-grade intervals and peak grades of 211.3g/t gold and 8.45% copper.

Greatland Gold (AIM: GGP) has added some kindling to the copper-gold rumours in Western Australia’s Paterson Province after it struck a “world-class” 275m thick intersection at its wholly-owned Havieron project, near mining giant Rio Tinto’s (ASX: RIO) rumoured major copper discovery.

The result was reported from the first hole of the drilling program, with the 275m intercept a combination of upper and lower mineralised zones.

The upper zone totalled 118m at 3.08 grams per tonne gold and 0.84% copper from 459m, while the lower zone intersected 157m at 6.04g/t gold and 0.44% copper from 660m.

Within those zones several high-grade intervals were noted with grades up to 211.3g/t gold and 8.45% copper.

“The remarkable peak gold and copper grades of 211.3g/t and 8.45% copper, respectively, are significantly higher than in previous drilling,” Greatland chief executive officer Gervaise Heddle said.

“These stunning results represent a world-class intersection as measured by total mineralisation in one drill hole in excess of 1,500m grams gold equivalent,” Mr Heddle explained.

He added the elevated copper and gold mineralisation persisted to the end of the drill hole and indicated mineralisation continues at depth, with this belief supported by “detailed geophysical data”.

Greatland’s Havieron licence is part of its Paterson project, which covers about 385sq km in the Paterson Province.

According to Greatland, initial airborne data identified the Havieron target as 1km by 1km and 400m deep.

The company said modern drilling equipment allowed deeper anomalies to be “easily” tested.

Antipa Minerals and Rio Tinto kick-off EM survey at Citadel

Antipa Minerals (ASX: AZY) has 5,500sq km of tenements in the province, with licences adjacent to Greatland’s Havieron discovery. Antipa’s tenements also stretch within 3km of Newcrest Mining’s (ASX: NCM) renowned Telfer gold mine.

Greatland’s spectacular intersection news has been followed by Antipa’s announcement this morning that its farm-in partner Rio kicked-off an airborne electromagnetic (EM) survey at the Citadel copper-gold project in the area.

The 600 square kilometres airborne EM survey is in addition to Rio’s planned exploration program at Citadel for the 2018 field season.

Rio will allocate further funding and resources to the survey, which the giant hopes will generate more targets that can be tested in 2019.

The survey will cover 2,000km lines at about 300m line spacing over a total 80km of strike.

According to Antipa, it carried out a geophysical survey using versatile time domain electromagnetic (VTEM) technology in 2011. The 2011 survey identified the Magnum gold-copper-silver deposit and led to the detection of the Corker polymetallic deposit.

Copper-gold fever at Paterson Province

For the last 12 months, rumours have been gaining traction regarding Rio stumbling across a major copper deposit in the province.

However, Rio is yet to confirm or deny the rumours, but has been actively pegging up land in the area including agreeing to spend $60 million on exploring Antipa’s Citadel asset to lock-in a 75% stake.

In December last year, Rio boosted its holding in the province from 2,335sq km through wholly-owned and joint venture assets to 13,000sq km.

Mining entrepreneur Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) was quick to get in the act and, that same month, made a play for 5,310sq km in tenements.

According to Antipa, the Paterson Province is “highly prospective”, but “grossly underexplored”.

However, this may change with several small caps moving into the area including Alloy Resources (ASX: AYR), Metalicity (ASX: MCT), Red Metal (ASX: RDM) and Sipa Resources (ASX: SRI).

Pilbara – the heart of global mining booms

As one of the most prospective regions on earth, WA’s Pilbara is no stranger to a sudden exploration rush with the area hosting massive iron ore operations and now emerging as a lithium hub.

Also, the region sparked a gold rush about 18 months ago, after numerous conglomerate-style watermelon seed-shaped gold nuggets were uncovered by Artemis Resources (ASX: ARV) and joint venture partner Novo Resources (TSXV: NVO).

The rush has continued with conglomerate gold explorer Kairos Minerals (ASX: KAI) announcing only today it had recovered 135 nuggets weighing 11.1oz of gold from its Croydon project.

As companies scramble to unlock multiple commodities in the area, the Pilbara is expected to continue giving up its riches for decades to come.

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