Let the drilling begin, was the call from Artemis Resources this week as the Perth explorer announced it had secured heritage approvals to drill some big-ticket copper-gold targets in the Paterson Province in Western Australia’s north.
Artemis (ASX: ARV) is well-known for holding the tenement that backs onto the giant Havieron gold-copper discovery, being developed by Greatland Gold and Newcrest Mining as ore feed for Newcrest’s Telfer mine.
The agreement with the Martu people enables Artemis to push ahead with setting up the camp and drill pad ready for the DDH1 Drilling (ASX: DDH) rig and crew to arrive soon after.
“I am delighted … that we have received our final approvals for land access to drill targets for our 100 per cent-owned Paterson Central project,” Artemis executive director Alastair Clayton told shareholders.
“I believe this program represents one of the most exciting gold and copper exploration opportunities in Australia due to its location in the flourishing Paterson region, where Newcrest-Greatland, Rio Tinto and Antipa Minerals are rapidly growing their gold-copper discoveries into significant resources.
“We expect to complete 4000 to 5000m of diamond drilling before the wet season begins in mid-December and we will return to drilling as soon as the wet seasons abates in or around mid-February.”
The week’s news in detail:
- Rox Resources delivers exceptional results at Youanmi’s Link prospect
- Gold Road declares interim profit, fully franked dividend
- Buru updates on high-impact Rafael-1 well
- Mineral Resources announces significant gas discovery at Lockyer Deep
- Constellation copper hits shoot the lights out for Aeris at Tritton
- NRW’s Primero unit secures $290m Mt Holland lithium contract
- Massive demand prompts Core Lithium to increase SPP to $25m
- Rare earths exploration drilling at Browns Range kicks goals for Northern Minerals
- Artemis Resources secures final approval for Paterson Central drilling campaign
Artemis will focus on the Apollo, Atlas, Enterprise, Juno and Voyager targets, with a priority on drilling Apollo and Atlas where multiple deep holes – 600m to 1000m – will test the geology. These two targets are 2km north of Havieron.
Artemis has attracted investor attention for its well-positioned Paterson Central project, within eyeshot of Havieron, and the fact the explorer has held on to full ownership.
The Paterson Province is proving a successful hunting ground for many juniors as newcomer-to-the-region St George Mining (ASX: SGQ) highlighted when the maiden program at its 100 per cent-owned Paterson Project intersected basement rocks featuring elevated levels of pathfinder elements for base metals and gold.
St George completed 35 holes for 6264m at the Paterson Project – with assays pending – and is hopeful of kicking off a maiden diamond drill push next month.
For St George, the Paterson Project is a perfect complement to its high-grade Mt Alexander nickel-copper sulphide project in WA’s Goldfields region.
The excitement around the Paterson Province is driven not just by an impressive rate of discovery across the region but a bullish sentiment towards copper as part of the metal’s role in the battery minerals boom.
Perth broking and advisory house Argonaut Group explained to a large group of senior resources leaders during the week why it expected the battery minerals boom to drive massive growth for copper, nickel and lithium, in particular.
In addition to the clean energy push, the metals were also likely to benefit from stimulus projects as part of global COVID-19 economic recoveries as well as the impact of geopolitical tensions.
In relation to the COVID-19 recovery stimulus, Argonaut executive chairman Eddie Rigg said the impact on commodities prices was yet to fully play out if the experience from the post-GFC recovery was a guide.
In addition, Rigg argued, the disruption to logistics and resultant skills shortages in key mining provinces like WA, not to mention slower approvals processes and increased sovereign risk across the world, were likely to significantly slow the supply side response to rising demand for key metals – adding fuel to the theory of an extended commodities boom.
Doubling as an introduction of the expanded Argonaut team following its acquisition of fellow leading Perth firm PCF Capital, Rigg and deputy chairman Liam Twigger also talked up the likelihood of increased corporate activity – including nil-premium mergers and suitors bypassing the target’s board and taking their offers directly to shareholders.
The Argonaut Natural Resources Fund, run by David Franklyn, has only been going for 18 months but performed strongly on the back of key investments across 13 copper, nickel, lithium and gold stocks.
Among the fund’s gold investments is Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR), the last ASX-listed company to discover and develop a world-class gold project – Gruyere in WA’s north-eastern Goldfields.
Gruyere’s start-up – the mine is run in a 50-50 joint venture with South Africa’s Gold Fields – has been a bit lumpy though the asset’s long life (at least 12 years) and plans to reach a sustainable production profile of 350,000ozpa by 2023 will cement its position as one of Australia’s great gold operations.
Debt-free Gold Road released its half-year profit during the week, reporting revenue of $129.6 million on its equity share of 60,525oz for a consolidated net profit – affected by mill outages – of $19.1 million. The company declared a 0.5¢ a share fully franked interim dividend following a maiden final dividend of 1.5¢ declared in March.
Barrenjoey analyst Daniel Morgan picked up on Gruyere’s potential in a Gold Road initiation note this week – with an overweight recommendation and $1.75 price target, versus Gold Road’s $1.29 close yesterday – when he noted the asset’s low-risk production growth profile given the grade and operating consistency to date.
Rounding out the week with some high gold hits, Rox Resources (ASX: RXL) reminded investors of the potential at its Youanmi development project in WA”s Murchison.
Rox announced results from step-out and resource extensional drilling at Youanmi’s Link prospect of as high as 7.25m at 15.02g/t gold from 315.8m, with a 2.9m section at 22.37g/t from 320.1m.
The Alex Passmore-run company has boosted the mineral resource at Youanmi, a historic mine that last poured gold in 1997, to 1.7 million ounces at 2.85g/t. Efforts are focused on resource extensions and indicated resource conversion around the near-mine areas including Link, which delivered the aforementioned bonanza hit and other big intersects.
“These results from Link come from well outside the existing resource envelope but, importantly, demonstrate the downward continuity of existing ore zones, adding further confidence to the potential for resource additions,” Passmore said, adding that a resource update was imminent.