Rio Tinto has released details of encouraging intercepts at the Winu copper-gold discovery in the Paterson province, Western Australia.
The results include figures for 11 diamond drill holes that were not previously available, in addition to previously reported results for exploration drilling to the end of 2018.
Rio Tinto stated that its exploration continued to indicate relatively wide intersections of vein style copper mineralisation associated with gold and silver beneath relatively shallow cover, which ranges from 50 to 100 metres.
“The mineralisation remains open at depth and to the east, north and south,” Rio Tinto announced. “Some changes have been made to the assays due to ongoing quality control and assurance procedures, and changes in analytical techniques.”
Rio Tinto’s exploration efforts have ramped up at Winu in recent months to determine if its quality is of a suitable scale for the mining major.
The drilling setup at Winu currently features 13 rigs, including eight diamond rigs, three RC rigs and a waterbore drilling rig.
While Rio Tinto referred to the latest results as encouraging, it admitted the exploration project was still in an early stage.
The company stated the results did “not allow sufficient understanding of the mineralised body to assess the potential size or quality of the mineralisation nor to establish estimation of a mineral resource.”
Its highlights from the 11 drill results, which were not available at the time of the company’s last update in February, included: 456 metres at 0.43 per cent copper, 0.6 grams of gold per tonne and 2.56 grams of silver per tonne; 245 metres at 0.47 per cent copper, 0.6 grams of gold per tonne and 2.56 grams of silver per tonne; and 185 metres at 0.51 per cent copper, 0.37 grams of gold per tonne and three grams of silver per tonne.
Other promising intercepts of each metal across all holes since drilling began include 1.03 per cent copper for 60 metres, 1.22 grams of gold per tonne for 60 metres and 7.58 grams of silver per tonne for 21 metres.
Rio Tinto plans to release additional results from the next phase of reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling in an announcement covering the third quarter of 2019.
The company hopes the project will become a new copper resource suitable for the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market, where copper is highly desirable as a material for the manufacture of rechargeable batteries.