Triton Minerals (ASX: TON) has uncovered more evidence that the Nicanda Hill Prospect at its Balama North Project in Mozambique is a continuation of graphitic mineralisation intersected at Cobra Plains.
The last hole of its initial diamond drilling has intersected 158 metres of graphite-bearing schist while trenching has exposed near-surface graphite mineralisation.
Notably, mineralisation in the diamond hole remains open at depth while the two trenches confirm continuity of the mineralisation zone.
This could extend the potential strike of graphitic mineralisation to 8 kilometres on the project.
Preliminary rock chip sampling has also been completed on recently identified Black Hills and Charmers prospects, located parallel to the Cobra Plains and Nicanda Hill prospects, as an initial test of the potential graphite grades and mineral characteristics.
"These are excellent results given the limited time and work completed on Nicanda Hill to date," managing director Brad Boyle said.
"The two diamond holes drilled confirm a cumulative thickness of graphite in excess of 150m on the Nicanda Hill prospect and the full thickness of zone remains unknown. The intersected graphite mineralisation confirms the Company's belief that it is looking in the right place."
He added the two trenches on the Nicanda Hill prospect about 0.3 kilometres and 1.35 kilometres northeast of the two recently drilled diamond holes will provide further geological information and sample material that will determine the graphite grades of the schist that outcrops in the topographic ridge of the prospect.
"With the completion of these trenches, Triton has now tested sections of, what the Company believes, is a continuous graphitic schist package that extends more than 8 kilometres across the Cobra Plains and Nicanda Hill prospects. The company looks forward to completing further drill testing of this prospective zone in 2014" Boyle said.
"These exploration and drill results continue to support Triton's interpretation and belief that the Balama North project has the potential to host multiple world class high grade large flake graphite deposits."
Drilling and Exploration Details
The limited diamond drilling program on the Nicanda Hill prospect in License 5966 of the Balama North Project consisted of two diamond holes designed to provide a preliminary test of the graphitic schist that outcrops over a distance of 2 kilometres.
Drill hole TMBD006 intersected multiple zones containing graphite for a cumulative drilled width of 156 metres and was terminated in graphite-bearing rocks due to the deteriorating weather conditions.
The lower part of this hole overlaps with the geology intersected in the upper part of drill hole TMBD0005, which intersected a cumulative thickness of 116 metres of graphitic schist in multiple zones.
Additional drilling is required to delineate the hanging wall contact of the graphitic schist zone, and therefore the full width of the zone bearing graphitic mineralisation at the Nicanda Hill prospect is still to be defined.
These results indicate the graphitic schist dips moderately to the northwest. This is similar to the graphitic schist located 3 kilometres to the southwest at the Cobra Plains prospect, adding weight to the interpretation that the two prospects are linked.
In addition, graphitic rocks were mapped in two trenches that were dug on the two high points of the topographic ridge at the prospect.
These trenches confirmed an overall north-westerly dip of the graphitic schist. Further, the trenches help to demonstrate that graphitic mineralisation is near-surface and potential continuity of mineralisation towards the north easterly over a considerable distance.
These were terminated where in situ rock could not be accessed due to thicker colluvium cover on the flank of the ridge. Continuous channel samples were taken from the base of the trenches and submitted for graphite carbon analyses.
A preliminary rock chip sampling program was also carried out over the Charmers and Black Hills prospects to assess the graphite grade potential of graphitic schist at surface.
Initial laboratory results from the drill samples are expected by February 2014.
Balama North is located along strike to Syrah's massive Balama East Deposit, that is acknowledged as the largest known graphite deposit in the world.
Initial exploration had suggested the graphite mineralisation has developed along the same sub-structure which extends in a north-east direction from Balama East.
This has since received support from sampling and initial drilling.
Just last month Triton moved to a 60% controlling interest in key graphite projects in Mozambique, after finalising an increase from a 49% stake with its joint venture partner, unlisted Grafex Ltd.
The change is significant as a shareholding below 50% would have rendered future development decisions and funding for Balama and Anucabe projects more difficult to complete. It should significantly assist with timelines for exploration and development.
At the commencement of a Definitive Feasibility Study, Triton can move to a 75% equity interest in Grafex and 80% should a project move into graphite production.
Reverse circulation drilling had demonstrated the potential of the Cobra Plains prospect to host both cumulative and continuous drilled widths of graphite mineralization and zones of relatively high graphitic carbon grades.
This included a peak grade of 16.2% graphitic carbon as well as a wide intersections of 44 metres at 6% graphitic carbon.
Vanadium bearing minerals in graphite schist have also been sighted using petrographic and X-ray diffractometer studies.
With drilling and trenching increasing the likelihood of a connection between the Nicanda Hill and Cobra Plains prospects, there is greater promise of the project's potential to host multiple high grade large flake graphite deposits.
Share price catalysts ahead include:
- Diamond drilling results from Cobra Plains;
- Results from the rock chip sampling program over the Charmers and Black Hills prospects;
- Initial laboratory results from the Nicanda Hill drilling;
- Initial Resource estimation; and
- The Scoping Study.
Planning and preparation is underway to enable the Company to complete a resource estimation and scoping study for the Cobra Plains prospect by no later than mid-2014.
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