Juniors scoop up new exploration opportunities

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: The resilience of the small end of town exploration sector continues to deliver new opportunities as companies look for new opportunities.


Metal Bank (ASX: MBK) has entered into an agreement with Mason Valley Copper Properties (MVCP) to farm into the Mason Valley copper project, located within the Yerington Copper District of Nevada in the United States of America.

Metal Bank described the Yerington camp as a significant copper district with a NI43-101 resource base of over 12 million tonnes of copper and past production of approximately one million tonnes of copper.

The project includes three main historical underground copper mines (high-grade copper skarn style deposits) with average mined grades of between 2 per cent to 6 per cent copper.

Metal Bank indicated future exploration targeting resource development will focus on extensions to the skarn mineral systems that hosted the high-grade copper orebodies, which the company said pretty much remain open at depth and along strike.

A number of high-priority geophysical targets occur coincident along strike to the existing min, which the company believes could potentially represent new copper rich skarn systems.

Metal Bank explained that past exploration and drilling (modern and historical) over the Mason Valley mining camp has been limited due to previous fragmented ownership of the mining claims/tenure.

Under the new agreement the entire Mason Valley mining camp, including three high-grade historical copper mines has been secured under 10 square kilometres of contiguous claims.

The partnership has access to historical documentation for these three mines, which collectively produced approximately 3.8 million tonnes at a grade of 1.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent copper from 1910 to 1931.

These three copper mines are:

Mason Valley Mine – historical production of 1.7 million tonnes at 2.5 per cent to 6 per cent copper;

Bluestone Mine – historical production 1.5 million tonnes at 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent copper; and

Malachite Mine – historical production 0.6 million tonnes at 3.5 per cent to 6.2 per cent copper.

“The Mason Valley copper project is in a low risk, pro-mining district that is undergoing a significant mining revival with 12 million tonnes of copper metal in resources currently at feasibility or mine development stage,” Metal Bank chair Inés Scotland said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“With the establishment of this Joint Venture, we are able to apply modern exploration and resource development to a highly prospective area that has previously seen limited activity as a result of fragmented ownership of the mining claims.

“While the majority of the district’s copper inventory is contained in large porphyry style deposits being developed by majors such as Freeport McMoRan, it is the higher grade skarn style systems that represent the priority target for MBK.”


Dragon Mining (ASX: DRA) has executed a conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement with the Bankruptcy Estate of Lappland Goldminers Fäboliden AB to acquire the Fäboliden gold project in northern Sweden.

Dragon said the Fäboliden gold deposit is a potential source of open pittable material that could be processed at the company’s nearby, fully-owned Svartliden production centre.

In consideration for the acquisition, Dragon Mining will make staged payments to the Bankruptcy Estate comprising:

6 million SEK (A$0.95million) within 10 business days of receiving confirmation the pledgees in the Bankruptcy Estate approve the Agreement;

24 million SEK (A$3.79million) within ten business days from the date of a final, legally binding and unappealable granting by the appropriate court of the extension of the start-up time set out in the Environmental Permit of at least four years; and

10 million SEK (A$1.58 million) on or before the date 18 months after the Completion Date (being the seventh day following the fulfilment of the two conditions: i. a final, legally binding and unappealable granting by the appropriate court of the extension of the start-up time set out in the Environmental Permit of at least four years; and ii. a final, legally binding and unappealable approval from the Mining Inspectorate of Sweden or an approval from the Swedish Government of the transfer of the Exploitation Concession to Dragon Mining.

If the conditions are not achieved within two years of execution of the Agreement, the Agreement shall be considered void and payments reversed, apart from 0.25 million SEK (A$0.04 million) that will be retained by the Bankruptcy Estate.

“The company is very pleased to have secured the acquisition of the Fäboliden gold project,” Dragon Mining executive director Brett Smith said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Fäboliden represents an advanced project that was previously explored as a large tonnage-low grade gold project.

“Dragon Mining, however, intends to focus on the identified narrower, near-surface higher grade zones within the lower grade envelope that could be more amenable to open pit mining and processing at Svartliden.

“Metallurgical test work and processing of a 1000 tonne sample at the Svartliden Plant has confirmed Dragon Mining’s ability to process material from Fäboliden.

“The existing infrastructure at Svartliden, including the CIL plant and tailings disposal will enable the company to potentially develop an operation at a greatly reduced cost and smaller environmental foot print compared to the original Fäboliden concept.”

Dragon Mining declared it intends to commence activities immediately at Fäboliden, staring with a diamond core infill drilling program targeting the near-surface, higher grade gold mineralisation.