Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) has begun mobilising to site in preparation for the imminent start of its 2,800 metres diamond drilling program at the Nyungu copper-cobalt deposit in north-western Zambia.
The drilling program designed to expand the scale of the Nyungu Central and Nyungu South deposits is scheduled to be completed in about 12 weeks.
In addition, the program will also provide data for resource estimation and samples for metallurgical testing purposes.
The Nyungu copper-cobalt deposit is part of Argonaut’s 90% held Lumwana West project, located between Barrick Gold Corp’s (TSX:ABX) Lumwana Mine and First Quantum Mineral’s (TSX:FQM) Sentinel Mine in Zambia.
“Plenty of encouragement”
Argonaut director and CEO Lindsay Owler said: “Argonaut is excited to recommence drilling at Nyungu.
“The deposit urgently needs drilling to target extensions and resource drilling infill.
“Previous intercepts of 176m at 0.55% copper and 31m at 1.57% copper provide the team with plenty of encouragement.”
The Nyungu deposit is located near several major copper mines and relevant infrastructure.
The Nyungu deposit drilling program will have a dual purpose with exploration drilling that aims to uncover significant new zones of copper and cobalt mineralisation, and infill drilling for resource estimation purposes.
The drilling program targeting copper and cobalt mineralisation is expected to begin in about one week.
Argonaut has defined two exploration drilling targets that have the potential to materially increase the resource base at Nyungu.
At the outset, the exploration drilling program will involve a component of diamond drilling targeting the extension to Nyungu Central and Nyungu South.
Furthermore, a resource drilling program will involve infill diamond drilling initially targeting near-surface oxide material also providing metallurgical samples for the forthcoming test work
Argonaut’s drilling program for 2021 is budgeted at $2 million for a total of 2800 metres for varying drill core.
The Nyungu has a 1700 metre strike length and is open to the north and south.
Argonaut plans to test these potential extensions to known mineralisation to increase tonnages for future resource estimation at Nyungu Central.
The Nyungu South deposit sits in a location where a copper soil anomaly and an induced polarisation (IP) geophysical anomaly are coincident.
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.
Argonaut has started mobilisation and establishment of exploration camps at Nyungu
The drilling program will be jointly managed by African Mining Consultants (AMC), Thomas Rogers and Argonaut Resources’ staff based in Adelaide, Australia.
- Ephrems Josesph