Brightstar Resources Limited (ASX: BTR) has announced a strategic tenement swap with Ardea Resources Limited (ASX: ARL) to enhance its exploration and development activities at the Menzies Gold Project by expanding the projects tenue by covering 12 square kilometres.
Figure 1: Map of the Menzies Tenement Swap
Tenement Swap Boosts Exploration Potential
Under the agreement, Brightstar will exchange several non-core tenements in the Menzies and Goongarrie Gold Projects to Ardea’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Project – Goongarrie Hub in return for ten prospecting licenses adjacent to its existing Menzies Gold Project tenements, along with gold and lithium rights to exploration license E29/981.
Notably, Brightstar will retain all gold exploration rights for licences on the Goongarrie project, with Ardea only receiving the non-gold rights and the ability to develop infrastructure on the southern half of E29/1062.
This transaction will enable Ardea to focus on advancing the Kalgoorlie nickel project while allowing Brightstar to consolidate its ownership of the Menzies Shear Zone’s ‘Northern Trend’, which holds significant exploration potential for gold and lithium and sits along strike Menzie’s known 505koz @ 1.3g/t Au gold resource.
Brightstar has already identified over a kilometre of outcropping pegmatites in the Menzies Project area, and historical mining records extend the known strike to over 4 kilometres, suggesting significant potential for lithium-bearing LCT pegmatites, potential further compounded by the geological similarities between Brightstar’s newly acquired ground and Delta Lithium’s Mt Ida deposit.
Figure 3: Geology Map with noted pegmatite occurrences in the Northern Trend
Brightstar’s overarching objective is to streamline its portfolio and maintain a low capex restart for gold production, allowing the Company to rationalise its holdings across Menzies and Laverton while focusing on advancing the Menzies Gold Project.
The additional tenements acquired from Ardea offer a unique opportunity for Brightstar, with the newly acquired ground providing access to two notable exploration trends: the NW gold trend within the Menzies Shear Zone and its accompanying greenstone belt, and a northerly trend consisting of mapped and drilled pegmatites. These trends present avenues for further gold exploration efforts along strike of known resources and the potential for lithium-focused drilling campaigns.
Moreover, the expanded tenure provides infrastructure advantages, allowing unimpeded access to the sealed Menzies-Sandstone Road, which would prove vital for transportation in the event of economic gold or lithium extraction from the combined tenement group.
To expedite exploration efforts and identify drilling targets, Brightstar plans to commission a hyperspectral survey, with the data from this survey to aid in assessing the exploration potential and fast-tracking the identification of appropriate drilling locations.
Figure 3: Outcropping pegmatite in BTR’s Menzies Gold Project (P29/2585)
Brightstar is now progressing with a Scoping Study, aiming to outline underground and open-pit mining scenarios at Menzies and Laverton, as well as plant refurbishment costs and conceptual production profiles. The study is set to be completed in August, providing further insights into the development potential of the Company’s projects.
“We are pleased to have entered into an agreement with Ardea to secure highly prospective exploration ground for nil cash consideration immediately along strike of known mineralisation to the north of our Menzies Gold Project. The acquired ground has significant exploration potential to host further gold mineralisation given the combination of known Menzies ‘mine corridor geology’ within and adjacent to the Menzies Shear Zone and has seen limited historical exploration for gold due to shallow cover,” Brightstar’s Managing Director, Alex Rovira, said.
“Whilst Brightstar rapidly advances towards development of its gold resources, it is also prudent to assess the potential for lithium mineralisation at Menzies given the geological setting and known pegmatite occurrences observed in the field and in historical records. The acquisition of lithium and gold rights in Ardea’s E29/981, northwest of Lady Irene, is important as this is directly along strike from a +1km long, stacked pegmatite system recently identified by Brightstar with comprehensive mapping and sampling programs underway at present.”
BTR’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price has risen 9.09% today and is currently selling at 1.2c (11:43 pm UTC+ 8 hours).