Microcap AusQuest to kick off base metals drilling in WA alongside South32

Tue 31 Jan 23, 11:25am (AEST)
A pindan dirt road stretches to the horizon in an unknown region of northern WA
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • AusQuest will kick off drilling for base metals in WA’s south alongside South32
  • Company is targeting the prolific Fraser Range
  • ASX100 player IGO Limited is active in the area and the company is hopeful it can find Broken Hill Style mineralisation

Junior explorer and microcap AusQuest Limited (ASX:AQD) will team up with a South32 (ASX:S32) subsidiary to drill for base metals in WA at its Balladonia Base Metal Project (BBMP)

South32 is a diversified mining giant with a market cap of $21.1bn. Its involvement with the BBMP was ratified in a Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) struck with AusQuest in the recent past. 

AusQuest advertises 100% ownership of the project. 

What is the BMPP? 

The project covers and is located 60km away from the Nova-Bollinger nickel-copper deposit managed by IGO Limited (ASX:IGO)

AusQuest is optimistic its assessment mineralisation at BBMP could mimic that of larger iron-oxide copper gold (OCG) systems is correct.

The project area straddles the prolific Fraser Terrane in WA’s south. IGO and a number of other companies are active in the area, underscoring South32’s interest.

Broken Hill style play 

Drilling is set to wrap up before 2H 2023 but management did not offer an exact timeframe on Tuesday. 

“[We] look forward to advising shareholders regarding the commencement of drilling operations in due course,” AusQuest MD Graeme Drew said. 

“The concept of ‘lode packages’ with alteration similar to what we see in the world-class Cloncurry Belt in NW Queensland, and in the Broken Hill area of NSW, is an exciting development for the Fraser Province, and opens up some significant new exploration possibilities.”

That comment is in reference to the Broken Hill mining region in NSW which has turned out mammoth amounts of base metals including silver, copper, and lead, from a number of different companies. 

Electromagnetic targets 

Diamond Drill (DD) rigs will be used on-site for the campaign which return whole cylindrical core samples to the surface and can typically run to depths exceeding 400m and nearing 700m. 

4,800m of core will be drilled in total chasing after eight targets spotted in electromagnetic (EM) surveys conducted earlier. 

Among the targets is the Tea Tree base metal prospect, at which past drilling has already been completed and confirmed promising geological traits for potential commercial-scale mineralisation (though did not report assays for target metals).

AQD's six month charts display the trademark 'blockiness' of an illiquid stock
AQD's six month charts display the trademark 'blockiness' of an illiquid stock


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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