Ventnor Resources (ASX: VRX) has received further support for underground mining at its Thaduna and Green Dragon project in Western Australia with assays from deep drilling of up to 23 metres at 3.66% copper.
"We are pleased that the field observations of expected high grade zones have been confirmed by high grade assays," managing director Bruce Maluish said.
"These intersections are some of the highest grade copper intersections reported in the last year in Australia and support the potential for underground production at Thaduna.
"We intend to follow up these intersections with further drilling as part of the BFS expenditure which will better determine the extent of the high grade mineralisation and lift the confidence in the Resource.
"Drilling to date has confirmed the continuity of the Orebody to depth and also the high grade core."
Hole THDD236, where the thick intersection from 388 metres was made, was infilling the existing 142,200 tonne copper JORC resource while holes THDD235 and THDD238 extended the high-grade underground mineralisation with assays of 9.58 metres at 5.00% copper from 612 metres and 6.15 metres at 9.94% copper from 572 metres.
THDD236 had intersected a very wide consistent zone of chalcopyrite mineralisation, with minor bornite, hosted in a package of graphitic shales and greywacke.
This returned the thick copper intersection, which Ventnor expects will result in a localised increase in the resource proximal to this hole.
THDD235 intersected a wide intersection of strong bornite mineralisation with minor chalcopyrite hosted in variable graphitic shales and greywackes, with the highest grades while THDD238 intersected a very strong intersection of bornite mineralisation with minor chalcocite and chalcopyrite hosted in variable graphitic shales and greywackes,
Ventnor noted the assays from these two holes confirm the understanding of the sulphide zonation and shoot geometry.
The results of these and other completed drilling will be used to generate an updated JORC compliant Resource model.
The updated Resource model will be used as a base case for the Bankable Feasibility Study that is scheduled for completion in the September quarter 2013.
A Scoping Study completed earlier this year indicated the potential for an open cut operation followed by a longer-term underground mine to be economic.
Ventnor added that during the development of the BFS, it anticipates that additional drilling will be undertaken to support the generation of Mining Reserves for the optimal pit area and at least an initial three years underground production.
In addition, it is expected that the drilling program will also target further depth extensions to the updated Resource beyond the success in holes THDD235 and THDD238.
About 1,000 metres of drilling would be required for the optimal pits, 4,500 metres for the three years underground production and another 1,500 metres for the depth extensions.
With some of the highest grade copper intersections made in Australia this year, the deep drilling at Ventnor Resources' Thaduna/Green Dragon project has highlighted the potential for underground mining to follow the initial open pit.
Ventnor remains in suspension while it finalises a capital raising.
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