As the copper market tightens further, Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) revealed it is accelerating exploration at its wholly-owned copper projects Develin Creek and Flanagan’s in Queensland.
Zenith executive chairman Peter Bird noted the supply-demand balance for copper is “very favourable” for those companies on the supply side of the equation.
He said approximately 22-23 million tonnes of copper is consumed annually across the globe.
“Most copper consumption is within the traditional areas of pipe fabrication and electrical wire manufacture.”
“Consumption has been growing at a compound level of approximately 2% per annum for a number of years,” Mr Bird explained.
He added that copper also has a rapidly emerging market in renewable energies.
“Copper is also the ‘absolute green energy metal’ and is projected to need a forward capital commitment of circa US$106 billion to ensure that by 2028 the supply side deficit of an estimated 5.4Mtpa is met.”
Mr Bird pointed out that copper was “by far” the most underfunded green energy commodity in the supply chain as the world moves to an era where everything environmentally clean is desired like electric cars, buses, green power generation or batteries.
Exploration plans at Develin Creek and Flanagan’s
In an attempt to take advantage of this emerging deficit, Zenith has ramped up exploration at Develin Creek and Flanagan’s.
Develin Creek has an inferred resource of 2.57Mt at 1.76% copper, 2.01% zinc, 0.24 grams per tonne gold and 9.6g/t silver.
Last year, Zenith completed a seven hole maiden drilling program at the Snook prospect within Develin Creek.
After conducting geological mapping, Zenith expects the most prospective portion of Snook remains open.
The company will undertake airborne aeromagnetic and ground based geophysical surveys followed by drilling which is scheduled to begin next month.
Other work at Develin Creek will comprise a Sulphide City mineral resource diamond drill hole twin program (three holes) before the end of the month.
This program aims to assess the potential grade “under-call” associated with historic open pit percussion drilling – which Zenith says, if successful, could result in higher resource grades.
Across the wider Develin Creek project area, Zenith will carry out regional soil sampling with plans to collect 1,600 samples in 2021.
Over at the less advanced Flanagan’s project, the company has identified several high-grade copper and gold prospects.
Zenith’s upcoming exploration will involve securing 500 soil samples along with geological mapping and rock chip sampling at copper and gold targets. This work is scheduled to begin next month.