The drilling program is designed to expand the scale of the Nyungu deposit and to provide data for resource estimation and metallurgical testing purposes of the shallow copper-cobalt oxide of the deposit.
At the outset, the exploration drilling program will involve 1,600 metres of diamond drilling targeting the extension to Nyungu Central and Nyungu South.
A resource drilling program will involve 1,200 metres of diamond drilling initially targeting near-surface oxide material.
Argonaut’s drilling program for 2021 is budgeted at a cost of A$2 million.
Director and CEO Lindsay Owler said: “The 2021 Nyungu deposit drilling program will have a dual-purpose: exploration drilling that aims to uncover significant new zones of copper and cobalt mineralisation, and infill drilling for resource estimation purposes.
“Argonaut has defined two exploration drilling targets that have the potential to materially increase the Resource-base at Nyungu.”
The Nyungu copper-cobalt deposit is part of Argonaut’s 90%-held Lumwana West project, located between Barrick Gold Corp’s (NYSE:GOLD) Lumwana mine and First Quantum Mineral Limited’s (TSE:FM) Sentinel mine in Zambia.
With the Nyungu Central deposit being open along strike to the north and south, Argonaut plans to test the potential extensions to known mineralisation to increase tonnages for future resource estimation.
The Nyungu South deposit sits in a location where a copper soil anomaly and an induced polarisation (IP) geophysical anomaly are coincident.
This IP anomaly continues northwards from the soil anomaly over a large, which is untested and will be drilled by Argonaut in 2021.
Promisingly, a preliminary open pit optimisation study conducted for the Nyungu Central and Nyungu South deposits produced highly encouraging results.
Copper sulphide mineralisation
Previous drilling by Argonaut at Nyungu targeted fresh copper sulphide mineralisation at depth via angled drilling while no early drill holes targeted near-surface oxide mineralisation.
This has left a gap in the company’s understanding of the oxide zone and affected its ability to progress metallurgical test-work on a potentially significant parcel of copper ore.
Therefore, the 2021 drilling program aims to address these matters by specially targeting drilling in interpreted near-surface oxide zones.
Results from this program and metallurgical leach test-work that will follow will impact the economics of production in the first 5 to 10 years.
Argonaut is completing a suite of orientation leach tests on small samples of oxide and transitional ores; future tests will include large-scale leach tests and solvent extraction or electrowinning tests.
Improved access conditions
Argonaut has upgraded the drilling access track which includes the installation of box culverts at major creek crossings and the sheeting of the track using laterite.
These upgrades will improve access conditions in both the dry and wet seasons in the event Argonaut elects to continue drilling past the commencement of rains in November 2021
The drilling program will be jointly managed by African Mining Consultants (AMC), Thomas Rogers and Argonaut Resources’ staff based in Adelaide, Australia.
- Ephrems Joseph