THE INSIDE STORY: While a lot of juniors have put the drill bit on the shelf, Perth-based Impact Minerals (ASX: IPT) has maintained the exploration rage on the company’s diverse exploration projects.
A recent Explorer Quarterly Cash Update report from accounting and advisory firm BDO identified one in 10 ASX-listed exploration companies did not carry out any exploration during the 2014 June quarter.
“This is a very telling statistic, showing that a material portion of the ASX-listed explorers are not doing what their ‘mum and dad investors’ would be expecting them to do,” the BDO report noted.
“Investing in exploration companies has always been a more risky use of capital than investing in more stable businesses, but for companies that are not exploring at all, there is no possibility of any reward to investors for that risk.
“If this situation continues, finding investors for companies classified as ‘explorers’ will become more and more difficult.”
In July this year Impact Minerals overcame that perceived difficulty to announce an oversubscribed $2.59 million capital raising through a placement of approximately 78.4 million shares at an issue price of 3.3 cents per share.
The funds raised were earmarked to fund drilling at the company’s high-grade precious and base metal Commonwealth and Broken Hill projects in New South Wales.
“This was an important result for us and our shareholders,” Impact Minerals managing director Dr Mike Jones told The Resources Roadhouse.
“In this very difficult time for junior exploration companies we were looking to raise between $2 million and $2.5 million so to close oversubscribed was an indication of the faith our shareholders have in our New South Wales projects.
“The Board’s decision was that we had to cut costs where we could with the intention of keeping up the momentum with our exploration programs, because that’s what we’re about.
“We have been rewarded for this by being able to raise sufficient funds to carry out some serious exploration activities.”
The raising ensured Impact was fully-funded for the maiden drill program at its 100 per cent-owned Commonwealth gold, silver and base metals project, located 100 kilometres north of Orange in NSW.
The program tested a number of targets identified by Impact for high-grade gold-silver base metal mineralisation at the project’s Main Shaft, Commonwealth South and Silica Hill prospects as well as the Coronation Trend and has provided a great deal of encouraging results from the get go.
So much so Impact immediately extended the 2,500 metre program by 500m after initial assays confirmed extensions of the deposit at the Commonwealth South prospect.
As the program progressed results continued to extend the high-grade, near surface deposit.
Reverse circulation (RC) drill results include:
7 metres at 25.5 grams per tonne gold, 62g/t silver, 3.8 per cent zinc, 1.6 per cent lead and 0.1 per cent copper from 88m down hole; and
21m at 2.9g/t gold, 21.6g/t silver, 1.2 per cent zinc and 0.6 per cent lead from 53m.
“These are significant gold results and we continue to be very encouraged that we could be looking at the discovery of a major deposit at Commonwealth,” Jones said.
“This is the first systematic drill program we have conducted beneath the near surface high-grade mineralisation.
“Our intention was to define the orientation of the mineralisation in order to allow further step out drilling at depth and the results we have received have demonstrated this is being achieved.”
Needless to say Impact was excited by the first discovery of massive sulphide mineralisation at Commonwealth South, however what really has the company dancing on hot coals is the potential the deposit has shown for further extensions to the south and at depth.
The company has programmed further ground IP and soil geochemistry surveys to assist in the definition of follow up drill targets.
As far as maiden drilling programs go this one has delivered in spades so far, yet has only tested a very small part of the 20km long mineralised trend within Impact’s licences, which includes the recently-identified and undrilled Doughnut target 2km to the north, which has returned strong copper-in-soil responses and has subsequently been identified as a priority target for follow up work including IP surveys.
While all this has been going on Impact has been preparing another maiden drill program, this time at the Broken Hill nickel-copper-PGE project, also in NSW.
Impact recently earned a 51 per cent interest in the rights to nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation from Golden Cross Resources (ASX: GCR) at the Broken Hill Joint Venture project, which was recently awarded a grant of $125,000 under the NSW State Government’s Co-operative Drilling Funding Program.
The company is eager to complete earning 80 per cent of the metal rights by spending a further $200,000, which it has to complete by 2017, however it is anticipated this expenditure will be met during the forthcoming drill program to be conducted at the Red Hill prospect.
The Red Hill prospect occurs within an ultramafic intrusive unit, which outcrops over an area of about 500 square metres with a nickel-rich core and copper-precious metal-rich margins – a feature common in many major nickel-copper-precious metal sulphide deposits around the world.
“This is a priority area for drilling,” Jones said.
“Both the western and, in particular, the eastern margins of the unit are marked by copper-in-soil up to 200 metres wide and 600 metres long.
“Within these margins are a further three priority areas for follow up work covering several hundred square metres and which contain rock chip samples with high-grade nickel, copper and precious metal assays.”
Impact completed a soil geochemistry survey, which has been submitted for analysis by the MMI partial digest (nickel and copper) and fire assay (platinum, palladium, gold and silver), while follow up detailed mapping as well as further rock chip sampling have also recently been completed at Red Hill.
An Induced Polarisation ground geophysical has also commenced.
The results of all of this work will be integrated to define specific drill targets for the program scheduled to commence in November 2014 subject to statutory approvals, the documentation for which has been lodged with the relevant government department.
From the east coast Impact has still managed to keep a close eye on its Mulga Tank project, located on the Minigwal greenstone belt in the eastern part of the Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia.
The company has identified twelve new priority target areas for nickel-copper and copper-gold deposits at Mulga Tank following a review of a broad spaced ionic leach soil geochemistry survey covering the central part of the 425sqkm project area.
Six of the targets occur on the west side of the project area, along strike and adjacent to the Mulga Tank Dunite where Impact discovered nickel and copper mineralisation under about 50m of transported cover.
Impact considers the Mulga Tank project to be prospective for nickel and copper sulphide deposits similar to the Perseverance (45Mt at 2% nickel) and Rocky’s Reward (9.6 Mt at 2.4% Nickel) mines near Leinster.
Its belief stems from the Mulga Tank Dunite, which is similar to the host for the Perseverance nickel deposit as well as the host unit to the Mount Keith disseminated nickel deposit, which contains more than 2 million tonnes of nickel metal.
Impact Minerals Limited (ASX: IPT)
…The Short Story
26 Richardson Street
West Perth WA 6005
Phone: (61 8) 6454 6666
Facsimile: (61 8) 6454 6667
DIRECTORS and MANAGEMENT
Peter Unsworth, Dr Mike Jones, Paul Ingram, Dr Markus Elsasser, James Cooper-Jones, Leo Horn
Bunnenberg Family 30%
Aviana Holdings 2.3%