East Tennant Copper-Gold (SER 100%, Northern Territory)
In 2019, data acquired under Geoscience Australia’s $100m “Exploring for the Future” program revealed a lithospheric connection between the Tennant Creek and Mt Isa mineral fields. In particular, previously unrecognised major features favourable for hosting large mineral systems were seen in the East Tennant region.
SER was a first mover into the region, pegging ground with the right geological features present to potentially host a mineral system following a review of the precompetitive data that emerged as part of Geoscience Australia’s Exploring for the Future program. Since 2018, SER has secured 5 exploration licenses – 100% – covering 1300sqkm that has only seen limited shallow drilling and we have since completed detailed gravity surveys over 4 of the exploration licences (Figure 1). Gravity being one of the key dataset for defining hematite or magnetite hosted IOCG mineralisation in the region given the nearby relatively small yet high grade Tennant Creek Copper-Gold project.
In late 2020, the Mineral Exploration Cooperative Research Centre (MinEx CRC) completed a 10 hole, 4000m National Drilling Initiative (NDI) regional stratigraphic drilling campaign in the East Tenant region. The NDI drill holes were designed to test the potential of basement rocks in the region to host gold- and copper-rich mineral deposits similar to those in the Tennant Creek mineral field. The first data from the NDI campaign was released in March. The data provided new insight into the mineral potential of a previously underexplored region of northern Australia.
Dr Andrew Heap, Chief of the Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division at Geoscience Australia said “Drilling has identified rocks of the right age to host mineralisation and has uncovered evidence for key mineralising processes, such as the presence of major structures, hydrothermal alteration, and base metal sulphides”. Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director of the NT Geological Survey said “We expect the release of the first NDI drilling data to stimulate further industry interest in the Barkly region, which is rapidly emerging one of Australia’s most exciting exploration frontiers.”
For further details regarding Geoscience Australia’s work at East Tennant see: https://www.ga.gov.au/eftf/minerals/fis/east-tennant
In June 2021, SER was awarded Northern Territory Government co-funding to drill a deep diamond drill hole at the compelling Copper-Gold target, ‘Cottage’ on EL32617. Grant funding was provided by the “Resourcing the Territory” initiative which is designed to increase the intensity of exploration drilling in underexplored areas of the Northern Territory. The drill target “Cottage” was identified as a regionally significant gravity and magnetic feature that was identified during our extensive review of the East Tennant (IOCG) province combined with our follow up ground gravity survey over the area. A two-diamond drill hole program was designed to test the 8 x 5km body which is modelled as a central pipe-like response with an associated magnetic root system that was within 200m of surface.
In summary the drill holes did not intersect a major mineralising system and we will announce the complete elemental assays and results from the 12 petrology samples taken in due course, but in the meantime, we await the drill results from nearby explorers which are using similar drill targeting strategies and we are investigating the potential of alternative geophysical methods that may be suitable to this Greenfields frontier.
Neighbouring explorer, Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM), was also awarded funding to drill at East Tennant. Newcrest’s “Fangtooth” target lies immediately adjacent to, and along strike from, SER’s EL32306 and we will watch the results of this drilling closely.