THE DRILL SERGEANT: Coda Minerals (ASX: COD) first appeared on The Resources Roadhouse radar screens when it presented at our Explorers afternoon in March this year.
Presenting to our usual audience of well-informed investor types, Coda Minerals raised a few eyebrows in interest of the company’s Elizabeth Creek copper project in South Australia.
Exploration is a lot like real estate at times and Coda Minerals is no exception to this rule with its Elizabeth Creek project sitting slap bang amidst a traditional copper neighbourhood.
The 739 square kilometres project sits in the heart of the Olympic Copper Province, also known as Australia’s most productive copper belt.
Elizabeth Creek is centred 100 kilometres south of BHP’s Olympic Dam mine, 15km from BHP’s Oak Dam West project, and 50km west of OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold project.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing to think the company has set up shop in such a region, but then again foresight is an ever more wonderful thing, especially when a company has the gumption to follow its nose and start drilling.
The company has identified two priority targets at the Elizabeth Creek project at which it commenced its current drilling program in May 2021.
These targets are:
The Emmie Bluff copper-cobalt deposit, a laterally extensive, flat-lying, sediment-hosted copper-cobalt deposit at approximately 400 metres deep, over which the company established an Exploration Target in 2019; and
The Emmie Bluff IOCG Deeps prospect, which lies in the basement rocks below Emmie Bluff, approximately 700 to 1,000m deep.
The target at Emmie Bluff Deeps is iron-oxide copper-gold (IOCG) mineralisation, which is mined in the region at the Olympic Dam, Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.
This week, things got serious for Coda Minerals, in conjunction with its Joint Venture partner Torrens Mining (ASX: TRN), with the announcement of preliminary results from drill-hole DD21EB0018, the first deep diamond hole designed to test Emmie Bluff Deeps IOCG target at the Elizabeth Creek project.
“The deep IOCG diamond drill hole DD21EB0018 has intersected very encouraging copper sulphide mineralisation,” Torrens Mining managing director Steve Shedden explained in his company’s ASX announcement regarding the discovery.
“This is an excellent result for the first Joint Venture drill hole to test the IOCG mineralised system and, against a background of steadily rising copper prices, is most heartening.
“Torrens’ shares Coda’s enthusiasm for these results and highly anticipates the assay results.
“We look forward to more positive developments at the Elizabeth Creek project, which the Joint Venture is energetically pursuing.”
For the technically minded among us, the drill hole in question was reported to have encountered a 200 metres sequence of intense haematisation and alteration, including a 50m sequence of zoned copper sulphide mineralisation, consisting of chalcocite, chalcopyrite and bornite zones.
The explorer’s newest best friend, the Portable-XRF machine, produced readings of this haematite cap material that indicated the presence of highly anomalous lanthanum and cerium, both of which are considered key pathfinder elements for IOCG systems.
Beneath this haematite cap, the drill hole encountered approximately 70m of strongly altered granite, interpreted to be intrusive Hiltaba Suite granites.
This granite was followed by an approximately 50m zone of variably intensive haematite altered metasediments with a significant copper sulphide component, starting from approximately 797m down-hole.
Coda explained how the copper sulphides exhibit zoning with depth, with the highly altered zone consisting of:
• an upper zone of disseminated and blebby chalcocite/bornite in massive haematite;
• a narrow zone of chloritic and haematised sediment;
• a strongly haematised middle zone, dominated by chalcopyrite and accessory bornite in blebs and accumulations typically (though not universally) aligned with the remnant sedimentary structures and with elevated molybdenum and cobalt levels detected by portable XRF; and
• a lower zone, including both bornite and chalcopyrite, again primarily in blebs and veinlets.
According to Coda, the readings achieved by the Portable XRF confirmed elevated copper associated with these sulphides in all three sulphide zones, as well as the presence of IOCG indicator elements such as cobalt and barium.
The astonishing thing to note here is that the announcement contained no assay results, as these were yet to have found their way out of the laboratory.
This didn’t seem to concern investors with the Coda Minerals and Torrens Mining prices enjoying exemplary trading days.
Both emerged from self-imposed trading halts to light up the boards as well as the countenance of their respective shareholder bases.
“This is a very exciting and significant result for the very first deep IOCG exploration hole to be drilled at our Elizabeth Creek project since we listed on the ASX, and it represents the culmination of significant geological and geophysical targeting work undertaken prior to listing,” Coda Minerals CEO Chris Stevens said in the company’s ASX announcement.
“Although assays are pending and we cannot confirm the tenor or extent of the mineralisation we have encountered, preliminary geological logging and field observations by Coda’s experienced technical team suggest that the hypothesis which drove the design of this hole has been validated.
“Regardless of the final assays, it is clear based on geological data alone we have intersected an IOCG alteration system of significant scale.
“We are incredibly encouraged to have encountered chalcocite, chalcopyrite and bornite at the intensity and over the length of core that we did, and we are currently investigating options to follow up these exciting results as soon as possible.
“We have approvals in place for multiple additional holes and anticipate mobilising a third diamond rig to Emmie Bluff in the coming days.
“This work will proceed in parallel with the ongoing resource in-fill drilling program covering the shallower, Zambian-style copper-cobalt mineralisation at Emmie Bluff itself, where we remain on track to deliver a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate in the September quarter this year.
“Given the size of the prize and the location of the Emmie Bluff Deeps IOCG Project in a Tier-1 mineral province just 16 kilometres from one of the world’s most exciting new IOCG discoveries of recent times at Oak Dam West, we feel that we owe it to our shareholders to pursue this game-changing opportunity with vigour.”
TO READ THE CODA MINERALS COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENT IN FULL: CLICK HERE