Isa Undercover Copper-Gold

Isa Undercover Initiative (SER 100%, Queensland)

The greater Canobie and Isa North projects –  jointly referred to as the ‘Isa Undercover Initiative’, comprises both the Eastern and Western Mt Isa Succession, two major undercover extensions (more than 2,500km2) of the Mt Isa Province, which is one of the most highly mineralised copper-gold provinces in the world.

Above: The location of Isa North and Canobie Domain projects with SER’s Isa Undercover Initiative.

The Isa North Project comprises three exploration licences covering an underexplored 976km2 belt located along the projected northern extension of the mineralised Mt Gordon fault extension. Several large deposits lie on or adjacent to this fault system, including the Mt Isa, Mt Oxide and Gunpowder copper deposits held by 29Metals (ASX:29M), which hosts five known orebodies, three currently in production.

The project was acquired from Newcrest (ASX:NCM) in 2021 and SER has since secured landholder access at Nardoo station. This significant achievement paves the way for SER to follow-up this year an interpreted Tier-1 halo at Lorraine North (INMDD001) that was previously drilled by Newcrest. In the last 6 months major mining companies including Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Anglo American (LSE: AAL) have secured adjoining tenements.

Above: Isa North Project area over Magnetics RTP showing nearby explorers
Above: RTP Magnetics and previous drill hole location at Isa North

The Canobie Project now consists of eight exploration licences (1837km2) that encompasses an entire belt of the northern Mt Isa Eastern Succession, home to mines such as Evolution Mining’s giant Ernest Henry Copper-Gold mine. SER is convinced Canobie represents an extension of the Cloncurry Iron Oxide Copper-Gold province. Less than 30 drill holes in the entire district have penetrated Proterozoic basement and these include multiple high-grade gold hits, significant Ni-Cu sulphide intercepts and numerous intersections of copper, zinc and uranium mineralisation within intensely altered rocks that have never been followed up. This extraordinary strike rate from a limited number of holes led SER to secure the entire belt.

Canobie Project – Kalarka Prospect Drilling Campaign

The Kalarka Prospect, within EPM27378 of the Canobie Project, is a a discrete 750 x 600m, 40nT aeromagnetic response characterised by an elevated Electromagnetic (EM) response and partially coincident anomalously higher density. SER has modelled a steep westerly dipping plate as the source of the EM response.

During October 2021, SER completed two diamond drill holes, which were collared 535m apart and totalled 1574m of drilling, designed to test the Kalarka Prospect. This drill program was awarded a Queensland Government Collaboration Exploration Incentive (CEI) grant worth $100,000 in direct operational funding.

Drill holes CNDD001A and CNDD002 both intersected mafic / ultramafic intrusive units with disseminated and semi-massive magmatic sulphides as shown below. The drill holes contain inherent similarities in host rocks and sulphide mineralisation style to the nearby Tea Tree Nickel-Copper Sulphide Prospect which recorded a 10.4m intersection at 0.25% Nickel and 0.28% Copper in drill hole TT001D, located approximately 2.75km southwest of Kalarka. The best intersections included;

  • CNDD001A:
    • 132m of disseminated Ni-Cu sulphides within ultramafic @ 0.1% Ni from 507m including 2m @ 0.68% Ni, 0.17% Cu (from 635m)
  • CNDD002:
    • 43m of disseminated Ni-Cu sulphides within ultramafic @ 0.1% Ni from 615m and 0.6m @ 0.96% Ni, 0.11% Cu (from 661.6m)
Above: Semi massive sulphide intersected in CNDD001A at 621.8m.

SER is highly encouraged by the significant intervals of ultramafic rocks coupled with an increase in nickel grade over a greater length within the sulphide zone which demonstrates, at a local scale, the potential for accumulations of nickel sulphides to occur within a sulphur saturated magmatic system. This advances the potential of the region to host significant Ni + Cu sulphide mineralisation as broad zones of thick nickel and copper-bearing disseminated sulphides can be associated with more massive accumulations, as demonstrated between Western and Eastern Deeps systems at Voisey’s Bay (Labrador, Canada) and within the Nebo-Babel deposit (West Musgraves Ranges, W.A.).

Furthermore, a revised interpretation of the detailed gravity data at Canobie shows that it maps mafic units across the project area and reveals that both the Kalarka and Tea Tree prospect form part of a larger ore junction. Importantly, extending north and south from the main ore junction are elongate gravity features interpreted as ribbon-like “chonolith” intrusions which have the potential to host higher tenor nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation.

Above: Left: Drill holes intersections surrounding the Kalarka Prospect over a Bouguer Gravity Image. Right: Reduction to Pole Magnetic Image. Note the elongate density highs (interpreted chonoliths) extending north and south from the ore junction.

Future Work

A complete review of the project is underway.  This includes re-logging all available drill core, selected additional geochemical analysis, and petrology and petrophysical data collection to map the lithochemical signatures and allow vectoring into more prospective portions of the intrusive system.  An immediate outcome from the review was the reinterpretation of available gravity data across the project area in the search for similar “ore junction” gravity anomalies. Located approximately 50km to the south west of the Tea Tree Prospect an analogous gravity anomaly was identified on the southern margin of the Canobie project which has since been secured (EPM28180).

Deep Learning Model Predicts Key Lithology Groups Critical to the Identification of IOCG Style Deposits

In May 2022, SER and Caldera Analytics announced an overview of research undertaken to develop a deep learning-based model to interpret basement geology from geophysical data. The aim of the project was to uncover previously unidentified Iron Oxide Copper-Gold (IOCG) drill targets within the Isa Undercover Initiative region. The research was conducted by Caldera Analytics (Caldera), a leading Machine Learning and Data Analytics Company based in Melbourne and funded entirely by a Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) Collaborative Exploration Initiative (CEI) grant. For further information see the SER Announcement dated 31 March 2022.

The ground-breaking research showed the potential of a Deep Learning Model to predict basement lithology using gravity and magnetic geophysics. The result for SER is several new targets, generated free from interpretational bias that are prospective for IOCG mineralisation. These targets will then be ranked alongside traditionally derived targets. The project has also generated highly ranked targets which are coincident with existing SER targets generated via traditional geoscientific methodologies which, once tested, will be used to validate the machine learning results. Furthermore, as additional geophysical data sets are collected, the Model will be re-run, providing revised geological interpretations across a region.

SER would like to thank the Queensland Government for their support which validates our targeting methodology.

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