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Black Fire Minerals eyes maiden tungsten JORC Resource at Pilot Mountain

Black Fire Minerals (ASX: BFE) is preparing to drill the Pilot Mountain Tungsten-Copper Project located in Nevada, U.S., after recently taking up an option to wholly own the project.

A diamond drilling contractor has now been secured to commence the first program of resource definition drilling at the Desert Scheelite Prospect commencing in December 2011. A JORC Resource is targeted by mid-2012.

Highlighting the potential at the prospect, over 150 drill holes were previously completed by Union Carbide. Best results include:

- 12.6 metres at 0.59% tungsten, 0.32 ounces per tonne (oz/t) silver and 0.48% copper;
- 16.6 metres at 0.40% tungsten, 1.63oz/t silver and 0.42% copper; and
- 13.3 metres at 0.37% tungsten, 2.87oz/t silver and 0.10% copper.

These deposits were never exploited due to a significant collapse in tungsten prices in the mid 1980’s and no significant modern exploration has been undertaken on the project since then.

Consequently, the project represents an advanced opportunity for Black Fire to capitalise on the increasing demand for tungsten which has seen significant price growth both before and since the global financial crisis.

In addition, the project has the potential for significant copper and silver credits.

Union Carbide’s historic reporting of their activities at the Desert Scheelite, Gunmetal and Garnet deposits is not compliant with the JORC code and therefore cannot be reported by the company.

However, Black Fire’s initial exploration target for these 3 deposits is 7-9 million tonnes at 0.30% to 0.37% tungsten. This target tungsten grade, which is based on extensive historic drilling, is considered very competitive with many current global tungsten mines and resource projects.

The drilling program

The planned program will comprise up to 4,000 metres over 18 holes to twin and infill selected holes out of the plus 100 historic holes that were drilled predominantly on 33 metre by 33 metre centres.

The aim of this program is to provide confirmatory assay and geological information so that the extensive historic database may be brought into a maiden JORC Resource.

Should this program be successful, a considerable saving will be possible in terms of both drilling costs and time and should allow a maiden resource for Desert Scheelite to be delivered by the end of the June 2012.

Desert Scheelite - one of three advanced prospects

Providing a further boost to the potential of the Pilot Mountain Project, the Desert Scheelite Prospect is only one of three advanced prospects at the project.

The project has been historically extensively drilled and subjected to mining Feasibility Studies by Union Carbide Corporation during the early 1980’s.

In addition, Desert Scheelite was also trial mined with the successful extraction of a 70,000 tonne bulk sample.

Union Carbide “mothballed” the project in the mid 1980’s in response to a significant fall in tungsten prices at that time. There has been no significant exploration undertaken since that time.

Location and tenure

The Pilot Mountain Project comprises 154 unpatented Mineral Claims for 12.9 square kilometres, located on the eastern flank of Pilot Mountain, 250 kilometres southeast of the city of Reno and 20 kilometres east of the town of Mina.

This ground package is the result of a consolidation program undertaken by Black Fire who staked 109 claims to secure additional nearby prospects prior to acquiring the rights to PGC’s 45 claims over the historic deposits.

The project is located on open rangelands with excellent infrastructure including grid power and intrastate highway less than 20 kilometres to the west.
Nevada is the “mining capital” of the U.S. with a favourable regulatory environment and availability of equipment and a skilled workforce.

Geology and mineralisation

The Pilot Mountain project area is located within a thick package of bedded marine sediments of the Jurassic Luning Formation, which importantly comprises units of limestone and calcareous sediments which are the host to the tungsten-copper mineralisation.

Intruding these sedimentary rocks are a series of Cretaceous age quartz monzonites and granodiorites which have developed the skarn style mineralisation within the limestone beds.

Mineralisation is therefore effectively stratigraphically controlled where the favourable beds are in contact or close proximity to the causative intrusives. The principal tungsten mineral present is scheelite (CaWO4).

To date, mineralisation has been traced up to 200 metres away from the intrusive rocks and up to 600 metres along strike with widths ranging from 2 metres to 10 metres.

Three advanced prospect areas are known including Desert Scheelite, Gunmetal and Garnet and it is these prospects that were extensively drilled by Union Carbide between 1977 and 1983. A further 11 prospects at various stages of exploration fall within the project area.