Azure Minerals Flexes Exploration Muscle at Andover

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: During the second half of 2020 Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) confirmed its outstanding geological credentials. By Mark Fraser

From acquisition, it took the company just 10 weeks with the drill rig to unequivocally prove its Andover nickel-copper Joint Venture in Western Australia’s Pilbara is a winner.

Covering 70 square kilometres and located just south of the small town of Roebourne, Andover is essentially a new nickel-copper discovery in a layered mafic-ultramafic intrusive complex.

Nickel sulphides were originally discovered there back in 2018 by WA prospecting legend Mark Creasy, when two target areas containing semi massive and disseminated sulphides, a gossan and sulphide stringers returned 7 metres at 2.62% nickel and 0.65% copper from 43m, 2m at 2.1% nickel and 0.44% copper from 15m, 4m at 1.1% nickel and 0.8% copper from 6m as well as 2m at 1.77% nickel and 0.53% copper from 62m.

When the Tony Rovira-led Azure arrived on the scene in September 2020 as the project’s 60% JV partner (with 40% holder Creasy), it surveyed 12 electromagnetic targets before making what has become the VC-07 target its top priority.

Diamond drilling subsequently started in October.

By November the JV had completed five holes, intersecting massive nickel-copper sulphides in every one.

Just before Christmas, Andover’s seventh drill hole – which was also the first step out one for VC-07 – intersected a 21.7m-wide interval containing nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation located just 120m along strike to the west of two previously reported mineralised drill holes.

This mineralised interval started at a down-hole depth of 407.9m and was extended by the 21.7m to 429.6m.

It contains multiple zones of matrix, semi-massive and massive nickel-copper sulphides – including 2.7m of matrix to massive nickel-copper sulphides from 407.9m, 1.4m of matrix nickel-copper sulphides from 413m and 0.5m of massive nickel-copper sulphides from 429.1m.

It also intersected a nickel-copper sulphide mineralised interval 120m to the west-north west of the earlier holes along the interpreted strike and down-plunge, indicating a continuity of mineralisation in that orientation.

Whatever the finer geological detail, the important take-home message regarding Azure’s rapid success at Andover remains that all seven of its seven drill holes intersected broad zones of significant nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation.

As expected, the company released further mouth-watering Andover assay results to the market during January.

They included 10.7m at 1.69% nickel and 0.71% copper from 325.3m downhole (including 6.7m at 1.98% nickel and 0.86% copper from 325.3m) as well as 19.2m at 1.47% nickel and 0.41% copper from 4.06.3m (with 4.6m at 2.59% nickel and 0.67% copper from 413.7m).

Azure has interpreted VC-07 to represent a continuous body of bedrock-hosted sulphide mineralisation extending east-west over a 1,050m strike length.

The mineralised zone dips at about 60-80 degrees to the north, with a down-dip extent of more than 200m (as modelled by down-hole transient electromagnetic surveying). It remains open to depth.

According to the company, these dimensions highlight the great potential of this body to represent a substantial nickel-copper sulphide deposit, and the drilling program planned for 2021 is focused on progressing the delineation of this mineralised system to JORC resource standard.

Using up to three diamond rigs, initial drilling at VC-07 will define the along-strike and up-dip and down-dip extents of the mineralisation.

This will be followed by close-spaced infill drilling to assess internal continuity and viability. It will yield around 30,000m of diamond core.

Based on fixed-loop electromagnetic surveying, 12 other EM conductor anomalies have been identified within Andover’s project area and the drilling of the first of these, VC-23, has started.

“Having confirmed a significant nickel-copper discovery at Andover, the board of Azure is transitioning the company’s focus from exploration of the VC-07 mineralised body to resource definition,” Rovira – who co-discovered the high-grade Cosmos nickel mine in WA for the now-gone Jubilee back in the 1990s – said.

“With the VC-07 conductor extending east-west for 1,050m, more than 200m vertically and remaining unconstrained at depth, we believe there is excellent potential to define a major nickel-copper sulphide deposit at Andover.”

Azure also has three Pilbara projects with a gold orientation: Turner River (the largest at 450sqkm), Coongan (223sqkm) and Meentheena (141 sqkm).

It also has Barton, which comprises 200sqkm of mostly soil-covered and very under-explored land in the Kookynie gold district south of Leonora in WA, where limited bedrock drilling has already intersected shallow gold mineralisation.

Although early days, one target – the Daisy Corner prospect, which was drilled in the 1990s – has returned gold intercepts of 40m at 0.2 grams per tonne, 18m at 0.77g/t (including 7m at 1.26g/t) and 8m at 0.53g/t.