Blackthorn Resources (ASX: BTR) has reported some low-grade copper and gold drill results from the Mumbwa joint venture project in Zambia.
The Sydney-based, Africa-focussed junior and its 40% JV partner BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP, LSE: BLT, NYSE: BHP) are targeting iron oxide copper/gold (IOCG)-style mineralisation at Mumbwa, which takes in three previously identified anomalies – Kitumba, Mutoya and Mushingashi.
BHPB is currently managing and funding the project’s phase 3B drilling program, which is testing the Kitumba and Mushingashi anomalous areas.
Better copper assays from the Kitumba anomaly included 2m grading 0.26% copper from 14m depth, 6m at 0.29% from 54m, 2m at 0.26% from 90m, 2m at 0.32% from 188m and 6m at 0.71% from 242m. Better gold assays from the Mushingashi anomaly included 2m at 0.45 g/t gold from 495m, 4m at 0.27 g/t from 589m, 4m at 0.70 g/t from 611m, 2m at 0.62 g/t from 623m and 2m at 0.98 g/t from 649m.
“Indications are that a broad IOCG system is present at Mumbwa, and that it has potential to be world class,” contended Blackthorn managing director Scott Lowe. “However, this can only be quantified once sufficient drilling is complete across the property.”
In the meantime, Lowe added that the JORC Code-compliant resource calculation commissioned by the JV for the 1 km long Kitumba anomaly is progressing well and that the outcome is expected to be announced by the end of next month.
Under the terms of the JV agreement, BHPB holds an option to fully fund the phase 4 work program, which is planned to incorporate a conceptual study and may also include additional drilling.
The resources giant has the right to increase its stake in the project to 60% by completing this study and then paying Blackthorn a back-in payment equating to 150% of the company’s actual exploration costs incurred for phases 1-3 (deducting the initial back-in payment of US$1.1 million paid earlier this year).
Deadline for the completion of the current Phase 3B exploration program is December 31 2009.