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. A moratorium on Exploration Licence Applications was placed over the region and a competitive tender process was flooded with applications from exploration companies. SER won key ground in this process (Figure 1).
In early 2020, SER conducted extensive and detailed ground gravity surveys over our ground and together with Arrow Geosciences (led by former Chief Geophysicist for Rio Tinto, Theo Aravanis) processed all available geophysical data, interpreted the results and generated Cu-Au targets. Since then, neighbouring Explorers have started to uncover secondary copper mineralisation in cover sequences providing further evidence of the prospectivity of the region.
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.
Figure 1: SER’s East Tennant Copper-Gold Project (5 tenements in blue) over Geoscience Australia IOCG Prospectivity map with targets (yellow stars), copper mineralisation (green stars) and NDI regional drilling sites (black squares)
For further details regarding Geoscience Australia’s work at East Tennant see: https://www.ga.gov.au/eftf/minerals/fis/east-tennant
In March 2021 the first data from the Mineral Exploration Cooperative Research Centre (MinEx CRC) National Drilling Initiative (NDI) campaign east of Tennant Creek was released. 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.”
Following a detailed geophysical review of the entire East Tennant IOCG Province, SER pegged a fourth exploration licence (EL32617). A detailed ground gravity survey over EL32617 was then completed which included a 400m spaced grid over the gravity high. Subsequent processing and modelling of the gravity and magnetic data identified an 8 x 5km body with an amplitude of +5mGal on the ground and 150nT in the air (Figure 2).
In June 2021, SER was awarded Northern Territory Government co-funding to drill two 650m diamond drill holes into the compelling Copper-Gold target on EL32617. The funding is provided by the “Resourcing the Territory” initiative designed to increase the intensity of exploration drilling in underexplored areas of the Northern Territory.
SER subsequently completed a cultural heritage survey across EL32617 and the necessary government approvals and commenced drilling the ‘Cottage’ target in September 2021. Drill hole BKDD001 is designed to test the source of the pipe like feature evidenced in the gravity modelling, while the second hole is designed to test through the gravity feature and into the magnetic anomaly at depth (Fig. 3). Drilling of both holes is expected to be completed early October with lab assays to follow.
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.