Mining Group (ASX: MNE) has discovered a new, high potential mineralised zone at Tagpura North, part of the Comval Project in the , which has delivered peak assays of up to 3.58% copper and 12.52 grams per tonne (g/t) gold from rock chips - some of the highest grades to date.
The company has also delivered its first resource for the project of 32.675 million tonnes at 0.42% copper and 0.13g/t gold for 136,100 tonnes of contained copper and 138,900 ounces of contained gold.
The Inferred resource was estimated by independent geological and resource estimation consultants Cube Consulting.
Importantly, the maiden resource includes a high grade resource of 8.987 million tonnes at 0.63% copper and 0.2g/t gold, which is all at surface and expected to have a low stripping ratio.
The newly discovered Tagpura North skarn, located only 750 metres from the Tagpura open pit mine, has the potential to further build on this resource base.
The new discovery contains mineralised skarn and diorite outcrops that are strongly mineralised with copper and gold, including a native copper occurrence.
Mining Group has defined a 500 metre by 300 metre target zone, which is a significantly larger footprint than the Tagpura East resource.
This zone is open along strike to the northeast, and surface mapping and sampling activities are continuing along with ground magnetics to delineate drill targets. Drilling is planned to begin within six weeks.
Zeff Reeves, managing director, commented: "The surface sampling at Tagpura North returned some of the highest copper and gold assays ever achieved within the project area.
"We have delineated a large target zone that we aim to start drilling within the next six weeks.
"We are excited by this discovery as it continues to prove our exploration model, and the new discovery area is approximately 400 metres vertically above the historic Tagpura pit meaning there is potential for the entire vertical distance to be preserved.
"We are currently conducting detailed ground magnetics over the target in order to delineate the best place to drill and we are also waiting on further assays to be delivered."
A majority of the resource at the 0.4% cut-off (33,300 tonnes of copper and 38,200 ounces of gold) is contained within the Tagpura high grade skarn deposit, beneath the historical open pit mine.
The Tagpura East skarn extends for 400 metres along strike and to a vertical depth of about 140 metres where it has been stoped out by an intrusive diorite.
It is estimated that historically, between 2 to 5 million tonnes was mined from the Tagpura East orebody during the early 1980s.
Two new lenses of mineralisation have been identified along the northwest and east margins of the deposit from ground magnetics, and remain untested.
The Tagpura West resource is also located at the western end of the existing open pit mine, within highly altered volcanic rocks, and is part of a large lower grade halo around the high grade Tagpura Skarn resource and extends around 350 metres along strike and 300 metres below surface.
The deposit is open both along strike to the north, across strike to the west and down dip.
The Maangob resource is about 1,400 metres northwest of the Tagpura Pit and is predominately hosted within altered volcanic rocks with higher grade lenses hosted within magnetite skarns.
The Maangob orebody extends about 280 metre along strike and to a depth of 200 metre and remains open to the southwest and northeast.
The Kalamatan orebody is hosted within an intrusive diorite and is a gold rich porphyry style deposit.
Kalamatan has been deeply weathered with copper oxide mineralisation visible to around 100 metres below the top of the deposit through the transitional zone.
Mining Group has conducted preliminary sequential leach assays on this material within the mineralised portion of KCPDH00001 and with an average recovery of 84% for the mineralised interval from surface to 80 metres down hole.
Kalamatan has only been subject to first pass drilling and remains open in all directions.
Reeves commented on the milestone: "We are pleased to release a maiden JORC compliant resource.
"This represents an important milestone for the Comval Project and lays the foundations to map a clear pathway for the development of the company.
"This initial resource is all at surface and offers favourable topography that has the potential for low stripping ratios. This resource forms a solid economic base to grow into a significant copper project and clearly demonstrates the exciting potential of the Comval Project.
"The recent discovery of Tagpura North shows we are well on the way to building further on this initial resource, and is consistent with our strategy of identifying and understanding the most promising targets outside the known resources prior to further drilling."
Next exploration steps
Reeves told Proactive Investors today drilling of the Tagpura North Target will involve two to four holes, depending on how the first two look.
Over the broader Comval Project, Mining Group is currently assessing its resource models and will be looking at further drilling on the Tagpura East deposit and possibly Kalamatan once ground geophysics are completed.
"Maangob will also be drilled particularly to the southwest where high grade ore is open along strike, this will most likely occur next year," Reeves said.
"We have a number of other exciting looking targets we are currently mapping and sampling within 2 kilometres of the historic Tagpura pit which, again depending on results, we plan to drill late this year and early next year.
"This is in line with our strategy of delineating the best targets outside of the current resources to achieve our resource base we believe we need to develop the project.
"Also given the higher grade resource at the 0.4% cut-off we should be able to progress the project into feasibility with a further 8 to 10 million tonnes of material at those grades, and Tagpura North certainly has the potential to deliver that easily from what we have seen of it so far."
Comval is shaping up to be a solid project capable of filling a gap in copper supply when it comes into production.
Copper price fundamentals remain strong, and a substantial potential supply gap is looming as copper producers are faced with supply challenges and rising production costs.
The newly discovered Tagpura North skarn, located only 750 metres from the Tagpura open pit mine, has the potential to further build on the initial resource base. It also demonstrates the potential for high copper/gold grades, higher than has been previously discovered.
Mining Group is operating in a one of the world's most highly mineralised countries - the Philippines, which is prospective for "giant" porphyry deposits.
Historically, the region has seen very little activity by the majors, but the juniors have been active for many years. Majors are now looking for entry points into the region, providing juniors with options for potential partnerships and investment funding.
Importantly, the cost/labour structures in the region are very competitive and the Philippines is close to major consumers including China, India and Japan.
The delivery of the first resource for Comval forms a solid economic base to grow into a significant copper project.
Importantly, the resource is all at surface and offers favourable topography that has the potential for low stripping ratios. Further drilling, especially at the new Tagpura North skarn, will serve to prove up the potential of Comval further.
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