Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) has revealed “outstanding” results from recent drilling at the McLeod Hill Mining Lease 5426 (MHML), featuring a notable 5-metre intercept at 1.97% copper, highlighting the immense potential of the mineral-rich site.
Unearthing the Prospects
The drilling program included a total of 18 RC drill holes for 1,566m at MHML, with the Company’s exploration efforts revealing promising near-surface copper oxide intervals and sulphide results.
The Company announced MTKC0638 reported 15m @ 1.10% Cu from 64m downhole and 6m @ 1.78% Cu from 71m downhole; MTKC0642 29m @ 0.79% Cu from 39m downhole and 5m @ 1.97% Cu from 63m downhole; and MTKC0682 indicating 52m @ 0.31% Cu from surface.
Oxide mineralisation intersected at McLeod Hill is interpreted into three distinct zones: a low-grade surface layer (approx. 0.3% Cu), a deeper oxide zone (about 0.60% Cu) containing a higher-grade core over 1% Cu, and an underlying sulphide zone with copper content over 1%, offering optimism for further exploration and resource definition.
Resource Extension Potential
Austral’s exploration efforts have provided compelling evidence of the continuity of mineralisation at McLeod Hill, with the mineralised zones being interpreted to extend untested to the northwest into adjoining sub-blocks, specifically under silcrete cover and into EPMA28881 Canyon.
Moreover, the presence of potentially economic grades of copper oxide in close proximity to the Mount Kelly SX-EW plant, situated a mere 5 kilometeres away, lends a positive outlook for future resource development and growth for junior players operating in Mount Isa.
This development follows a trend of increased activity among emerging explorers in the thriving copper hub. Castillo Copper, for instance, disclosed earlier this year their plans to intensify exploration efforts at their sizeable Big One Deposit, boasting 2.1 million tonnes resource, grading at 1.1% copper, within the Mount Isa belt.
Figure 1: Location of ML5426 McLeod Hill, relative to Mt Kelly SX-EW plant, Red hatched area are sub-blocks adjoining McLeod Hill that have been successfully applied for under EPMA28881
Future Path Forward
With the recent drilling campaign yielding promising results, the Company is poised for an exciting phase of resource development and expansion.
Key steps planned for the near future include updating the resource model to incorporate the 2023 drilling results, assessing prospect economics given its proximity to the Mount Kelly processing plant, and generating representative samples for metallurgical evaluation. Additionally, the Company’s successful acquisition of the adjacent EPMA28881 Canyon opens the door to further exploration potential.
Exploration Manager and CP Mineral Resource Ben Coutts said the conditions have the potential to provide improved grade and volume and present a solid resource development “growth” opportunity.
“These exploration results at McLeod Hill are positive into the overall economic potential of the prospect. The identification of multiple zones of mineralisation includes a higher-grade core of oxide near to surface, and grade is always king in improving prospect economics. There is a strong well-developed regolith profile displaying the accumulation and preservation of oxide, another critical factor.”
AR1’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price is currently trading at 18 cents (2:40pm UTC+ 8 hours).