THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Late last year busy exploration house Carawine Resources (ASX: CWX) further revealed its commitment to becoming a bigger force in Australia’s base and precious metals sectors. By Mark Fraser
This became evident after it announced plans to spin off a highly prospective manganese holding in its home state of Western Australia.
Just before Christmas the company executed a binding Heads of Agreement with the yet-to-be listed Black Canyon to help get its wholly-owned Oakover manganese-copper-cobalt-iron project in WA’s East Pilbara up and running.
In doing so, it will be able to concentrate more fully on its plan to develop four other key exploration assets it currently has in Victoria and WA.
Under the terms of the Oakover deal, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, Black Canyon will have exclusive rights to farm into eight granted exploration licences within the Braeside, Oakover East, Oakover West and Mt Frank tenements.
Covering about 950 square kilometres of tenure around 400km south east of Port Hedland, the aptly-named Oakover is centred on the Oakover Basin, a world class manganese province that hosts Consolidated Minerals’ Woodie Woodie manganese mine, an operation that has been producing premium grade product since the 1950s.
Boosting the project’s upside is the fact the region also has several other historic manganese mining centres in addition to numerous separate manganese and copper occurrences.
Apart from a drilling program completed in late 2018 at the Western Star copper prospect, Carawine’s work in the area to date has comprised largely of target generation activities based on reviews of historic exploration, reconnaissance-level mapping and surface sampling.
Carawine managing director David Boyd said his company’s tight focus on its high quality precious and base metals exploration opportunities at Jamieson (Victoria), as well as those at Tropicana North, within the Paterson Province and along the Fraser Range (all in WA), had effectively seen Oakover slip down the list of corporate priorities.
“We believe Oakover has significant potential for manganese discoveries and we are pleased that Black Canyon is preparing to take this opportunity,” he explained.
“If Black Canyon is successful with its ASX listing, this deal will ensure the manganese potential of the Oakover project is explored, with Carawine retaining an interest and the ability to share in the benefit of any discoveries.”
Of the four remaining projects in the junior’s portfolio, the most advanced would arguably be Jamieson and Tropicana North.
At the former, which sits near its namesake township in the north eastern Victorian Goldfields, the focus is on the search for gold-copper/zinc-gold-silver across two exploration licences that cover 120sqkm.
This tenure contains the Hill 800 gold-copper and Rhyolite Creek copper-gold and zinc-gold-silver prospects, which both sit within Cambrian-aged felsic to intermediate volcanics.
Carawine is testing the strike and dip extents of Hill 800’s mineralisation (which is currently open) and searching the region for a potential copper-gold porphyry source.
Diamond drilling at Hill 800, the company said, had been progressing well, with the second drill hole in the current program targeting the down-plunge extension of previously-intersected high grade mineralisation involving a down-hole depth of 436.2m.
A follow-up drill hole – designed to further test down-plunge from this zone – was, at the end of last year, in progress and would be completed before the rig was moved to the Rhyolite Creek prospect some 5km to the south.
Meanwhile, at the 1,800sqkm Tropicana North gold project in the emerging Tropicana region, two granted exploration licences were the subject of a joint venture between Carawine (90%) and Thunderstruck Investments (the remaining 10%), with the exploration house set to free-carry its minority partner to the completion of a bankable feasibility study – at which point Thunderstruck may elect to contribute to further expenditure or dilute its interest.
Here, aircore drilling at the Neale and Don King tenements is complete, with 80 holes drilled for 4,124m.
Further to the north at the Paterson project, which sits in the Paterson Province at the eastern edge of WA’s Pilbara Craton, Carawine has nine granted exploration licences and seven applications (five subject to ballot) over an area of about 1,500sqkm that cross 10 tenement groups.
One notable aspect about these holdings is the fact the explorer has entered into separate and robust farm-in/JVs with two mining houses – Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) – covering different properties.
Finally, there’s the Fraser Range project, which includes six granted exploration licences in five areas and is considered prospective for magmatic nickel-sulphide deposits.
Again, Carawine has formed a robust JV – this time with miner IGO (ASX: IGO).