Explorer and aspiring gold developer, Middle Island Resources has applied for ten exploration licences, covering an aggregate area of 3,912 square kilometres, within the East Tennant region of the Northern Territory (NT).
|Image courtesy ©Middle Island|
The applications semi-continuously extend for over 350 kilometres along the axis of the East Tennant Ridge from Tennant Creek, east across the Barkly Tableland, towards the Queensland border.
Six of these applications, covering approximately 1,890 square kilometres, have been accepted. An additional four applications, representing a further 2,022 square kilometres, were lodged by Middle Island as part of a competitive process following the lifting of a moratorium over the East Tennant (Barkly) area. They are currently the subject of partially or wholly competing applications made by several companies, including Newcrest Mining, the outcome of which will be judged on the technical merit of proposed exploration programs in each case.
The ten tenement applications represent Middle Island’s maiden entry into one of the NT’s historically strongly mineralised copper-gold provinces. This strategy positions the Company as a first mover within the newly identified, iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG)-prospective, East Tennant area, which extends across the Barkly Tableland. The tenement applications will collectively comprise the ‘Barkly super-project’.
Middle Island Managing Director, Mr Rick Yeates said that the then pending, and now completed, divestment of the Reo gold project in Burkina Faso provided the opportunity for Middle Island to identify a new project, with the focus very much on a lower risk, Australian gold or copper-gold opportunity.
“On the basis of extensive internal and pre-competitive government research, and recognising increasing corporate interest in junior explorers with large, prospective landholdings, we are extremely pleased to be able to present the Barkly IOCG copper-gold super-project, which we firmly believe represents a significant, accessible, highly prospective, low entry cost, greenfields exploration opportunity to complement the more advanced and wholly owned Sandstone pre-development gold project in central WA,” said Mr Yeates.
Middle Island identified the Barkly Tableland region, east of Tennant Creek, as an extensive area of unexplored basement potential. Assessment of Exploring for the Future (EFTF) data sets, integrated with historic open file data, led to the identification of several priority targets of interpreted IOCG affinity, extending beneath sedimentary cover along a sinuous corridor from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa.
Middle Island’s early focus on the East Tennant area afforded the Company the opportunity to confirm priority targets prior to the public release of GA and NTGS pre-competitive research data, and to be well-positioned when the exploration licence moratorium was lifted on 7 October 2019.
“In addition to competition from Rio Tinto Exploration in the more immediate Tennant Creek area, several Middle Island tenement applications in the Barkly (East Tennant) area partially coincide with competing applications by Newcrest Mining and others, further justifying the strategy and selection rationale,” said the Company in a statement.
The East Tennant Province has been the focus of several comprehensive completed and on-going pre-competitive studies by GA and NTGS in recent years, and is rapidly gaining attention as a priority, yet largely unexplored, IOCG mineral province.
Interest in the East Tennant area has grown significantly since it was selected as one of the focus areas for the EFTF program, a AU$100.5 million initiative by the Australian Government dedicated to boosting investment in Australian mineral exploration. The four-year EFTF program focuses on northern Australia.
“With respect to uncontested applications, it is anticipated that Native Title and other regulatory protocols will not see these tenements granted prior to March 2020,” said Middle Island.
“Competing tenement applications are anticipated to be clarified in January 2020, with Native Title and other regulatory protocols taking at least a further four months, out to May 2020, prior to grant.
“As such, it is likely that exploration might reasonably be anticipated to commence during the 2020 dry season.”
Initial Middle Island work will focus on capturing any outstanding open file and pre-competitive data, the modelling of exploration targets and the planning of high-resolution geophysical surveys to refine modelled targets in preparation for drill testing.