MACQUARIE ARC BELT OVERVIEW
The Macquarie Arc is Australia’s foremost porphyry district and located in the Lachlan Fold Belt, a world-class porphyry belt hosting an endowment of over 100Moz gold and over 24Mt copper.1
Key projects include:
- Cadia gold-copper porphyries (>50Moz Au & >9.5Mt Cu1), the company maker for Newcrest Mining and its ongoing cash cow
- Northparkes copper-gold porphyries (5.5Moz Au & 4.5Mt Cu1), acquired from Rio Tinto by CMOC (China Molybdenum Co Ltd)
- Cowal epithermal gold (>12Moz Au1), the cornerstone mine of Evolution Mining
- The recent Boda gold-copper porphyry discovery by Alkane Resources (including 97m @ 3.97g/t Au, 1.50% Cu)
The central west of NSW is an agricultural, mining, infrastructure and rail hub, enjoying excellent existing infrastructure and mining culture.
While enjoying a mining history for well over a hundred years, less than 8% of gold/base metal drill holes in the region are greater than 150 metres depth and only 2.6% drilled deeper than 300 metres.
This is despite the core high grade and mineralized systems of the four key projects listed having little or no, at or near surface higher-grade mineralization.
Recent discoveries and expansions in the region have stimulated significant activities – key developments of note include:
- Boda gold-copper porphyry discovery and resource drilling results at the Tomingely Gold Operations by Alkane Resources (Macquarie Arc)
- Hume prospect “McPhillamy’s style” gold discovery at the Cullarin project by Sky Metals
- Large mining expansions for Cadia, Cowal and Northparkes (Macquarie Arc)
- Proof of concept for undercover exploration and economics (Macquarie Arc)
- Average re-rating of ASX listed explorers (8) active in the LFB 2.8x and >$80 million new equity raised (between September 6th, 2019 and May 15, 2020)
1 Bespoke Mar’20 request by Richard Schodde from MinEx Consulting for Kincora Copper
Reported on a pre-mined resource basis & LFB with 335 deposits (> Minor size, >10kt Cu, >10k Au).
NSW state with gold and copper deposits (492) over State Magnetics survey (TMI RTP).
There is considered excellent potential for new globally world-class discoveries and underground mines in the Macquarie Arc.
This is illustrated by the recent discovery from Alkane Resources at its Boda porphyry project, and the significant expansion activities currently taking place at Newcrest’s cornerstone asset, Cadia, and also the Northparkes and Cowal mines.
Like most globally significant mineral provinces, the major deposits sit within key geological units and mineralized systems.
In the Lachlan Fold Belt, for gold rich copper porphyries, this is the Macquarie Arc, of which there are two key belts:
- Molong belt
- Cadia gold-copper porphyries (>50Moz Au & >9.5Mt Cu1)
- Boda gold-copper discovery
- Junee-Norromine belt
- Northparkes copper-gold porphyries (5.5 Moz Au & 4.5 Mt Cu1)
- Cowal epithermal gold (<12 Moz Au1)
- Alkane’s Tomingley gold operation
1 Source: Total mineral endowment, MinEx Consulting for Kincora Copper March 2020
While a lot of previous exploration has been done in this region, by Newcrest and others, the limited drilling depth of previous efforts, previous exploration methods/techniques, predominate focus for just open pit depth discoveries and certain underexplored areas on the Macquarie Arc are still open and have excellent potential for new discoveries.
The Boda discovery, like the Ridgeway Cadia discovery, is an example of this, being in the Macquarie Arc, on one of the key belts (the Molong Volcanic belt), with previous mineralization at or near surface open at depth, deserving to be drilled and ultimately leading to the discovery of significant higher-grade systems.
Investors should pay very close attention to who are real explorers with real projects in this region given the amount of juniors promoting nearology or even nearerology to Cadia, Cowal or Northparkes. If your not in the right belt and rocks, it just doesn’t matter if are close to any of these deposits.
KEY DEPOSITS AND RECENT ACTIVITIES IN THE BELT
The first significant exploration result by Alkane at the Boda porphyry discovery in September last year, plus a new gold discovery by Sky Metals, has seen the Lachlan Fold Belt become a hotspot for exploration.
There has been:
- A large amount of public market capital raised and investment in exploration taking place,
- there has been a frenzy of corporate activities, and,
- there has been a very large land grab for tenure (by juniors through to majors alike).
According to internationally recognized mineral economist Richard Schodde, the Lachlan Fold Belt is the latest hot spot for global exploration.
“As an economic geologist you have to do that trade off between where can you find a good orebody and where can you make money and feel safe at night … New South Wales, the Lachlan Fold Belt, for copper and gold is the place to be” - Richard Schodde, MinEx Consulting (April 2020 interview - Click Here)
Within this region there has been a very significant recent land grab, with over a 25% increase in tenure since last September, from juniors and majors alike.
LAND GRAB, INCREASED EXPLORATION AND CORPORATE ACTIVITIES
“If the Paterson Province was the hottest exploration destination in 2018, New South Wales Lachlan Fold Belt is the hot spot of this year” - Mining Journal, December 2019
Macquarie Arc: >25% increase in exploration tenure since September 2019
- >35% increase in the northern Junee-Narromine region since Kincora’s application for the Nyngan project, including entry of a new major with applications adjacent now to two of Kincora’s licenses.
- New major applying for ground adjacent to Kincora’s Trundle and over the Cundumbul projects
- Existing ASX junior refocused on the region:
- Magmatic: shareholder approvals to divest Macquarie Arc assets but refocus on region has seen 24.5x in market cap (not a typo)
Outside of the Macquarie Arc: New listed juniors predominately focused on the LFB outside of the Macquarie Arc
- Kaiser Reef: A$4.5m Feb’20 raising/IPO to fund exploration at the early stage Stuart Town gold project, located off the Macquarie Arc
- Kincora’s Cundumbul project (previously the focus of a $3m asset level deal) is located ~20km west of Kaiser Reef’s project but on the Macquarie Arc (~30km south of the Boda discovery)
- Godolphin Res.: A$7.5m Dec’19 raising/IPO to fund exploration across ~2000km2 of tenure in LFB, predominately outside of the Macquarie Arc
Another key reason for the increased activities in the belt is the demonstrated profitability of the existing large mines and current significant expansions.
Cadia is the largest - a cluster of porphyry orebodies, a clear Tier 1 and giant size project, producing over 900,000 ounces of gold pa, at an All In Sustaining Capital Cost of only US$130/oz, after copper credits.
Newcrest is Australia’s largest gold miner and Cadia is its cash cow – currently accounting for approximately 100% of cash flow.
Cowal is another Tier 1 asset, an epithermal gold mine with over 12Moz endowment and the cornerstone asset for Evolution Mining.
A more copper rich porphyry is Northparkes. Northparkes was acquired by China Moly from Rio Tinto at the bottom of the last cycle, so significant details are not available in the public markets, but the project has enjoyed: significant resource growth; mine life extension, life now about 100 years based on existing resources; and, a current All In Sustaining Capital Cost of only US$1.35/lb after gold credits.
The Northparkes series of deposits, like the Cadia cluster of porphyry systems, provides an illustration of exploration success and a template for exploration in the Macquarie Arc.
Since the first hit by Alkane at Boda, a peer group of 8 exploration groups focused on this region have raised $81.1 million. There have been two successful IPO’s and various new entrants. These 8 groups have seen an average share price increase of 2.8x - and despite the market pull back. The peak re-rating of this group was previously 5.5x.
Discovery's rewarded, driven re-rating & favorable for Kincora
KINCORA’S STRATEGIC DISTRICT SCALE POSITION IN THE BELT
Following medium term exploration successes, re-rating of valuations for various exploration juniors and increased investment capital being allocated in multiple prospective undercover mineral belts in Australia, the Kincora Technical Committee in mid 2019 undertook a review of potential opportunities to expand and diversify the Company’s project pipeline for prospective world-class discoveries.
The review sought to leverage existing experience and exploration successes in Australia, opportunities pursuing a complementary systematic exploration approach as deployed in Mongolia. It also provides a broadening of Kincora’s jurisdictional profile and addresses investor’s concerns we search in the most attractive jurisdictions.
The review focused on various mineral provinces that host a proven world-class deposit(s), are prospective for further undercover discoveries and included undertaking an appraisal of depth/nature of cover, exploration maturity and competition status.
Certain provinces were downgraded due to competition, such as the Paterson, the latter driven by Rio Tinto’s Winu discovery and Newcrest’s successes with Greatland Gold’s Havieron project, and others often a combination of various factors, for example the Gawler Carton due to depth of cover, mature level of exploration, access to licenses and degree of competition.
The Lachlan Fold Belt screened technically and commercially well with a number of projects and opportunities identified and reviewed. The Nyngan project was selected based on the ability to secure a large license area, its stratigraphic-structural setting and right rocks, including previous mineralisation from limited drilling to basement, favourable fertility analysis and age.
Following Kincora’s successful direct application for its Nyngan project (announced November 21st, 2019 - Click Here), covering 762 km2, an application for a second large new exploration license has been made directly to the NSW State for the Nevertire project, covering 382 km2 (announced January 30st, 2020 - Click Here).
The Nevertire and Nyngan projects consolidate what is interpreted to be the most prospective and shallow to moderate cover of the commonly accepted extension of the Junee-Narromine Belt of the Macquarie Arc.
The region was previously the focus of St Barbara Ltd’s Big Gold Lachlan Project-Marra Joint Group project that covered various separate license areas across an 80km strike. St Barbara interpreted “the area to contain the largest volcano-intrusive centre of the Ordovician-Early Silurian Macquarie Arc, which to the south hosts the Northparkes and Cadia Valley mines.” 1
This is an area that recently has attracted significant interest with majors and juniors alike pegging ground around Kincora’s Nyngan and Nevertire ground with a greater than 30% increase of tenure in the northern Junee-Narromine region.
STRATEGIC POSITION AND PORTFOLIO IN THE MACQUARIE ARC
Kincora’s team enjoys previous Tier 1 discovery success in the belt
Kincora has recently commenced drilling at Trundle, one of the most compelling advanced exploration projects in the Macquarie Arc, and controls a district scale 1,732km2 across an eight-license project pipeline.
On January 30th, 2020, Kincora entered into an agreement with RareX Limited (“RareX”) to acquire a 65% interest in 6 mineral leases covering 587 km2 in the Lachlan Fold Belt. This transaction closed on March 19th, 2020 (Click Here), which coupled with the Nyngan and Nevertire licenses, supports a district scale land package and industry leading proposition of copper-gold targets.
RareX is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (“ASX”) with the ticker “REE”, formerly known as Sagon Resources and Clancy Exploration Limited. RareX is now focused on the development of its Cummins Range rare earths project in Western Australia.
The project portfolio provides Kincora a controlling interest in six advanced to early stage copper-gold projects. These projects have demonstrated strategic appeal, with various previous asset level partners:
- Trundle project: High Powered Exploration (“HPX”),
- Cundumbul project: Mitsubishi Materials Corp.,
- Fairholme project: Kaizen Discovery,
- Condobolin project: Ramelius Resources.
All JV partners left at bottom of the cycle 2015/16, and no exploration of note has taken place until Kincora’s involvement.
Kincora believes there are largely untested targets that were identified by Typhoon geophysical surveys undertaken by HPX and Kaizen at the Trundle and Fairholme projects respectively. Generation of additional targets is also expected with:
- advancements in modern exploration techniques;
- increased acceptance of a deeper horizon for copper-gold porphyry exploration, particularly in the LFB following Alkane’s recent discovery at Boda; and,
- expansion of first quartile cost operations at both Northparkes and Cadia at such target depth profiles.
The Trundle project is of immediate interest and will be a priority for the exploration program.
A systematic review and ranking of targets at other licenses will also be undertaken across the full license portfolio, noting the Cundumbul license is located 20km south of the Boda discovery of Alkane Resources with previous exploration indicative of a proximal copper-gold porphyry environment.
Kincora’s review of the Trundle project and RareX portfolio benefits from knowledge and previous exploration success in the belt from Technical Committee chairman and board member John Holliday being a principal discoverer and site manager of the Tier 1 Cadia and Marsden porphyry gold-copper deposits in this belt, formerly Chief Geoscientist of Newcrest Mining Limited and is still based in the region.
The Company’s review and due diligence of the Trundle project has also benefitted from access to extensive prior exploration records and data, including prior drill core, with both John Holliday and Barry de Wet (Kincora’s consultant geophysics) having previously worked on the Trundle project.
THE TRUNDLE PROJECT
On April 22, 2020, Kincora announced drilling had commenced at the Trundle project.
A first phase drilling program is planned for six holes and 3,800 metres, testing three known mineralized targets seeking to discover a new cluster of porphyry deposits.
Extensive porphyry and skarn-style copper-gold mineralisation and informal mining activities are associated with several Ordovician intrusive centres across the full Trundle license, which is located within a prolific mining and infrastructure district.
However, there is a clear lack of drilling to depths that host the core high-grade deposits at Cadia and Northparkes. Significant geological vectors, industry leading geophysical analysis and the team’s track record of exploration success underpin current drilling program at Trundle.
John Holliday, Chairman of Kincora’s Technical Committee, and Peter Leaman, Senior Vice-President of Exploration, commented: “Modern systematic exploration at Trundle has utilised industry leading Induced Polarisation survey's, including HPX’s proprietary Typhoon system, and magnetic modelling which has been insufficiently followed up by drilling.
Existing significant drill intersections supports vectoring to very compelling targets at three existing mineralised systems within a brownfield environment to Northparkes, Australia’s second largest porphyry mine where five deposits are defined.
We are very excited by the upcoming high impact and funded drilling program at Trundle.”
Sam Spring, President & CEO, noted: “Our team has demonstrated Tier 1 exploration success in the belt, which coupled with unique prior exploration experience at Trundle, and the quality of prior activities and results, has supported mobilising drilling within three months of agreeing the MoU with our now project level JV partner RareX Limited (ticker “REE” on the ASX).
Significant preventative measures have been taken to proactively manage the potential impact of COVID-19 and execute a successful drilling campaign. These systems and policies reflect the guidance given by the State and Federal authorities, and include sourcing the on-site-team and supplies from within the region to both reduce the risk to, as well as financially support, the communities we operate in.
We look forward to considerable news flow over the coming months in a market that is still significantly rewarding exploration success in the Lachlan Fold Belt”.
The Trundle project is located 30km west of the China Molybdenum Company Limited (CMOC) operated Northparkes copper-gold project, which is Australia’s second largest porphyry mine (behind Cadia, also located in the Macquarie Arc). CMOC acquired an 80% interest in Northparkes from Rio Tinto in July 2013 for US$820 million (Sumitomo retaining a 20% minority interest) and has since undertaken a material expansion of production and extension of mine life.
Trundle hosts the inferred westerly rift of the Northparkes Igneous Complex with extensive evidence of porphyry and skarn-style copper-gold mineralisation across a 12.5km strike associated with Ordovician intrusive centres similar to the Northparkes and Cadia deposits and mines.
BROWNFIELD SETTING: TRUNDLE AND NORTHPARKES – CONCEPTUAL RESTORATION
Share the same mineralized complex
Trundle is the only brownfield porphyry project held by a listed junior in the Macquarie Arc, Australia’s foremost porphyry region
- The Raggatt volcanics at Trundle are the stratigraphic equivalent to the Goonumbla volcanics that host the deposits at Northparkes
- Aeromagnetics illustrate key regional structures and geological features with the Trundle project located on the interpreted western rift of the Northparkes Igneous Complex within the Junee-Narromine Ordovician volcanic belt of the Macquarie arc
- Recent new license application from FMG Resources Pty Ltd for the adjacent southern ground
Sealed and unsealed roads traverse most of the license area, which hosts the town of Trundle. On the adjacent western license sits Clean TeQ Holdings Limited’s (“Clean TeQ”), Westella limestone development project associated with its flagship Sunrise nickel-cobalt-scandium battery materials complex located 30 km to the north-west.
A prolific mining and infrastructure district
Trundle sits between Northparkes, Australia’s second largest porphyry mine, and CleanTeQ’s large, low cost, long life Sunrise development stage battery materials complex, and close to existing infrastructure.
At Trundle, surface geological mapping, geochemistry, magnetic, gravity and Induced Polarisation (“IP”) coverage, coupled with structural and basement interpretations have been positive, indicative of multiple levels and phases of large mineralised copper and gold systems.
Past drilling has been extensive with the completion of 2208 holes for 61,146 metres but drilling utilising the modern exploration techniques, and deeper drilling to basement and target depth has been inadequate.
Over 92% of prior drilling has been to less than 50 metres depth with just 11 holes beyond 300 metres (0.5% of holes drilled). Existing significant drill intersections supports vectoring to very compelling targets at three existing mineralised systems that have not been drilled since industry leading Induced Polarisation survey's, including HPX’s proprietary Typhoon system, and magnetic modelling.
Significant intercepts not followed up include:
- 60m @ o.54g/t Au from 1m 2
- 56m @ 0.88g/t Au, 0.35% Cu from 34m 3, including:
- 2m @ 20g/t Au, 6.97% Cu and 81g/t Ag from 64m
- 39m @ 0.55 g/t Au, 0.14% Cu from surface 4
- 35m @ 0.55 g/t Au, 0.25% Cu from 12m 5
- 51m @ 0.58 g/t Au, 0.14% Cu from 33m6
- 58m @ o.44 g/t Au, 0.17% Cu from 22m 7, including:
- 4m @ 1.19g/t Au and 0.41% Cu from 28m
Kincora is drilling three fences at Trundle to test three known mineralized porphyry targets analogous to the five deposits at Northparkes
3 targets for phase 1 drilling: Trundle Park in the south; &, Mordialloc & Bayleys in the north
THE TRUNDLE PARK TARGET
Drilling initially commenced at the Trundle Park prospect (which sits within the southern portion of the license) where prior activities have intersected very high-grade localised zones within a large lower grade skarn mineralization, similar in style to the Big and Little Cadia skarns that is peripheral to the Cadia porphyry copper-gold deposits.
No drilling has tested below these mineralised holes where geophysics and relogging of historic drilling has indicated proximity to a porphyry source. Encouragingly the prior drilling provides vectors and supports subsequently defined underlying geophysical at shallow to moderate depth targets.
As announced on May 19th, 2020 the first hole at Trundle Park, TRDD001, has intersected multiple skarn zones, including 28 meters of visually interpreted moderate mineralization from 55 meters, including a higher-grade 6.5 meter interval. Previous nearby assay results include a higher-grade interval of 2 meter at 20g/t gold, 6.97% copper & 81g/t sliver from 64 meters1.
An adjacent monzonite and monzodiorite intrusion has been intersected, with disseminated chalcopyrite and pyrite supportive of proximity to a potential higher grade porphyry system/core.
The skarn and porphyry intrusion system setting is analogous to Cadia where the Big and Little Cadia skarns have produced an estimated 140,000t of high-grade copper (5-7%) and greater than 1.5Mt iron ore2, and were important to the discovery of multiple adjacent deposits that make up the largest porphyry system in Australia.
Positive initial visual results at Trundle
Targeted geological setting of adjacent porphyry to near surface skarn confirmed, analogous to Cadia and multiple Tier 1 porphyries
The average depth of prior drilling at the Trundle Park target is only 28 metres, and a high priority follow up hole is planned post assay results for TRDD001.
In the interim, drilling has commenced at the Mordialloc target, approximately 12.5 km north of Trundle Park, where previous drilling has returned metal grades comparable to the peripheral parts of the Northparkes deposits, with improving grades down hole, open and coincident with an untested deeper geophysical target.
Potential vectors and analogues to Cadia underpin favorable geological setting
Skarn alteration at Big and Little Cadia helped focus exploration at Cadia toward the largest porphyry system in Australia
Implications of first hole - Multiple positive developments
Knowledge from TRDD001 (assay results pending)
- Grade and nature of skarn mineralisation:
- Thicker zone of near surface moderate to higher grade mineralised skarn than previously intersected and expected
- Multiple zones of mineralised skarn (including native copper, chalcocite, chalcopyrite and black chlorite, and chalcopyrite and bornite)
- Extent of magmatic fluids associated with the interpreted adjacent porphyry intrusive system
- A higher grade skarn being a potential secondary target (eg production/grade from the Little and Big Cadia skarns)
- Skarn vectors: Lateral zonation within the skarn itself (eg from garnet-magnetite-hematite, etc) supports the presence of, and being used to imply the proximity to, the interpreted underlying porphyry target at depth and/or laterally – the skarn systems were important to the discovery of multiple adjacent porphyry systems at Cadia
- Adjacent porphyry: An adjacent monzonite and monzodiorite intrusion has been intersected, with disseminated chalcopyrite and pyrite, supportive of proximity to a potential higher grade porphyry system/core
- Conceptual model: Targeted geological setting of adjacent intrusion(s) and potential cluster of new porphyry deposits to multiple skarn horizons confirmed in first hole, analogous to Cadia and multiple other world-class porphyries
- Exploration approach: proof of concept for exploration methodology adopted and vectors for follow up drilling
- Scale of target zone: significantly expanded to the west with multiple new large untested targets for follow up
THE MORDIALLOC TARGET
Metal grades at the Mordialloc target are comparable to the peripheral parts of the Northparkes deposits with improving grades down hole and open. Prior drilling has returned porphyry quartz-sulfide veins overprinted by phyllic alteration adjacent to porphyrtic monzonite stock in a region with informal small-scale mining from the early 1900’s when shafts were developed on quartz chalcopyrite vein breccias.
One deeper diamond drill hole (CTD006, drilled in 2008) on the periphery of the subsequently defined chargeability high outer shell intersected 48 metres @ 0.15% copper, 0.12g/t gold and 41ppm molybdenum from 478 metres in a quartz monzonite porphyry. CTD006 ended in mineralisation with the grade profile improving as the hole approached the IP shell.
Similar to Alkane Resource’s discovery at Boda, Kincora is diamond core drilling below previous holes with improving grades and open, but with the benefit of the subsequent to prior drilling industry leading IP and magnetic modelling.
Geological concept for the Mordialloc target: Improving grade at end of hole coincident with deeper geophysical target
For further details on the Trundle project, Kincora’s strategy in the Lachlan Fold Belt and the region becoming the latest global hot spot for exploration please refer to the recent (April 7th, 2020) interview with Richard Schodde, MD of MinEx Consulting, and John Holliday, principal discoverer and site manager for the Tier 1 Cadia project and technical director of Kincora.
The interview is available at: Click Here
References and further background information
- Richard Schodde, MinEx Consulting, April 2020 interview with “The Assay”
- RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 20th December 2010
- RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 28th February 2011
- RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 20th December 2010
- RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 20th December 2010
- RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 20th December 2010
RareX Limited (then Clancy Exploration) ASX Release dated 28th February 2011