Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) is currently diamond drilling the highly prospective West Wyalong project, located in New South Wales.
Argent has a unique approach at the asset.
First, Argent has budgeted to assay 70% of the diamond drilling program, which covers six holes for 2,427 metres.
As a general rule - companies usually only assay up to a third of the drill core.
Second, the company has moved to a 70% stake in West Wyalong ahead of the assays after satisfying earn in requirements in the joint venture.
Finally, a decision was made to extend the depth of the holes with the company drilling more metres than originally planned in order to ensure capture of alteration seen in the drill core.
The drilling is 50% co-funded by the State Government up to a total of $200,000.
These funds are awarded on a merit-based assessment by an independent panel of experts.
This adds up to both Argent and the Government being intrigued to see if the asset will reveal a porphyry copper-gold with possible gold offshoots from the main geological structure, such as epithermal gold for example.
Why the interest in West Wyalong
The prospectivity of the area is the main reason driving both Argent and the Government to understand what lies beneath.
The project is strategically positioned within an active gold producing region in central New South Wales.
West Wyalong is surrounded by major gold producers including Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), Sandfire Resources NL (ASX:SFR), Goldfields and St. Barbara (ASX:SBM).
Providing some back story on the region and interest - Evolution Mining acquired the Lake Cowal gold mine for US$550 million in July 2015.
Lake Cowal is just 37 kilometres north of West Wyalong.
It has been 17 years between diamond holes at West Wyalong, too long for many, with assays expected to flow within the next two months.
Add to this the recent news of Sandfire’s discovery of a porphyry system just 18 kilometres away, which is along strike and in the same geological belt.
Funding delivers trifecta
Argent recently raised circa $2.3 million from a placement, which will help fund the drilling of West Wyalong.
Proceeds will also be used to advance the wholly-owned Kempfield Polymetallic Project, which is projected to join the +100 million silver ounce equivalent club in the near-term.
Kempfield currently hosts a 52 million silver ounce equivalent, and with some infill drilling in the second half of the year to be added to the recent data also not in the resource - a doubling in dimensions would be expected.
The third project for Argent is Loch Lilly where the company is farming-in, at a very minimal cost.
Argent’s costs will be 75% co-funded by the NSW Government up to $150,000.
Diamond drilling is expected to commence in the next month.
The project is located in the Loch Lilly - Kars Belt in western New South Wales, which hosts polymetallic volcanic-hosted massive sulphide, copper-gold porphyry and nickel sulphide.
Dr Tony Crawford of the internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits in Tasmania has determined that the geology of the region has the potential to be analogous to the Mount Read Volcanics of Western Tasmania.
This is where some of Australia’s highest grade base and precious metal deposits are located.
Dr Crawford’s initial exploration guidance to Sirius Resources was instrumental in the discovery of the Nova nickel deposit, subsequently taken over by Independence Group for $1.8 billion.
Dr Crawford took the Loch Lilly project to Anglo American, which immediately recognised the project’s potential and was preparing to drill two identified targets, when it received orders from its U.S. head office to shut down all of its Australian metal exploration operations.
Argent is the ‘lucky’ beneficiary and will now drill these targets, after it was approached by Dr Crawford to form a joint venture.
Argent can earn up to a 90% interest through exploration expenditure.