By MALUM NALU
Highlands Pacific Ltd yesterday announced a rich new copper and gold discovery in the Star Mountains of Western province, 25km north of the giant Ok Tedi copper mine, at its Kum Kom prospect.
The company said the discovery highlighted the potential for another copper-gold porphyry-skarn system, just 5km north of the Olgal porphyry identified in 2012 that contained a 596m intersection of 0.61% copper and 0.85g/t gold.
|StarMountains prospects.-Picture courtesy of
Skarns are the high-grade zones which made Ok Tedi such a great deposit and which make Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding so excited.
“This is another highly encouraging discovery, highlighting the potential copper-gold systems that exist in this important new district,” he said yesterday.
“It is still early days and we need to drill more holes at Kum Kom while continuing to explore at more of our untested targets in the Star Mountain district.
“The reason why we are excited about the identification of skarns is twofold: first their high-grades make them more economically attractive in their own right, and second they can be an indicator of the potential source or host part of the porphyry system.”
The Kum Kom prospect, approximately 25km northeast from Ok Tedi copper mine, is the fifth prospect drilled by Highlands in the Star Mountains, the fourth that has encountered copper porphyry mineralisation and the first with skarn-style alteration - often associated with higher grade copper-gold zones.
Assays have been received for the 354m diamond core hole at Kum Kom and assays are pending for a further 480m second drill hole from the same pad position but in the opposite direction.
Assays for this first Kum Kom drill hole show an initial lower grade zone to 140m before a high grade alteration zone of 22m of 1.42% copper and 0.57 g/t gold.
Deeper drilling in the same hole below 280m encountered a second zone of 68m at 0.97% copper and 0.37 g/t gold before drilling ended still in mineralisation.
The hole ended due to the drill hole collapsing while the drilling contractors attempted to recover a length of drill rod lost down the hole.
Drilling in the Star Mountains was suspended in late December due to an unseasonal dry spell which prevented fuel and food supplies being shipped to the Ok Tedi supply town of Tabubil.
Some recent rains have improved the river depths and it is expected a logistical backlog will be overcome soon with drilling in the Star Mountains to recommence in February.
In the meantime drilling pad construction and exploration preparations have continued.
The Kum Kom prospect is located on the EL (exploration license) 1312 Nong River, which is about 250 sq km in size.
Highlands has spent over US$20 million on this lease to date.