The approval from the South Australian Government for Argonaut’s subsidiary Kelaray Pty Ltd will enable an exploration drilling program around the western shoreline of Lake Torrens and Andamooka Island.
Targets IOCG copper mineralisation
This drilling will target iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) copper mineralisation in the style of Olympic Dam, Carrapateena and BHP’s recent Oak Dam discovery, all of which are in the same region of South Australia.
As well as exploration drilling, the approval permits resource and resource definition drilling and covers all known IOCG targets within nearshore and offshore domains.
This key milestone comes at a time of strong copper markets driven by increasing demand and positive future market fundamentals with copper’s strong role in electric vehicles and renewable energy storage and transmission.
Shares have opened more than 33% higher to 0.8 cents.
Argonaut aims to get on the ground as quickly as possible after receiving the go-ahead.
It will mobilise geophysical contractors to the Carrapateena Well, Andamooka Island and Murdie Island areas on January 11, 2021, to acquire detailed gravity data for the finalisation of drill hole locations.
The gravity contractors will work dayshift and nightshift to complete this task as quickly as practical under the authorisations.
They will utilise specially modified tracked quad bikes that apply low ground-pressure in order to avoid salt crust disturbance.
Drilling to follow
Results of the gravity survey will determine the number of drill holes and Argonaut expects to execute a drilling contract early in the new year with drilling to begin soon afterwards.
A track-mounted drilling rig will be capable of drilling cored holes to 1,500 metres and Argonaut expects that the Murdie drill holes will be 500 to 1,000 metres in depth.
The drilling rig will sit on fit-for-purpose, heavy-duty, interlocking mats to protect the salt crust.
Vehicles will access the drilling rig via temporary tracks covered by ground protection mats.
In prolific copper region
The two highly prospective exploration licences covered by the approval, EL5937 and EL5945, are immediately south and east of the company’s Torrens project and east of the Carrapateena mine.
These licence areas cover a confirmed IOCG target in an area known as Murdie as well as a second anomaly at West Lake Torrens.
The licences cover 1,015 square kilometres and there are 54 known residual gravity targets within the area.