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King River Resources out to build on historic Tennant Creek goldfield

Updated: Mar 21

King River Resources has a drilling blitz planned for its Tennant Creek projects next year. Credit: File

King River Resources is set for a big 2024, with 20,000m of drilling planned for 12 priority targets at its Tennant Creek gold project in the Northern Territory after running an extensive geophysics campaign this year.

The company has set aside about $2.5 million for the program, which includes 17 reverse-circulation (RC) holes already completed for 2790m at its Providence prospect ahead of a four-hole RC strategy at the nearby Commitment target.

The gold explorer is cashed up for the campaign after it finished the September quarter with more than $4.7 million in the kitty and it is also scheduled to pocket a further $5 million deferred consideration payment from ASX-listed Tivan following the sale of the Speewah vanadium project in February this year. Tivan has already paid the first $5m instalment in accordance with the deal.

The greater Tennant Creek project covers more than 7000 square kilometres to the east of the goldfield of the same name, which has historically produced more than 5.5 million ounces from high-grade iron-oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits in an area where mining dates back to the 1930s.

The operation has been split into four separate areas and the Tennant Creek East project has 10 main targets, including the Providence and Commitment prospects, the Rover East project, the Barkly project and the Kurundi project.

Throughout the past year, King River completed an extensive geophysical program targeting prospective IOCG mineralisation across all four projects that make up the greater Tennant Creek operation. The campaign included 32km of dipole-dipole induced-polarisation (DDIP) surveys, a 9sq km gradient array induced-polarisation (GAIP) survey and 25sq km of gravity surveys, in addition to 370sq km of both drone and airborne magnetic surveys.

The company’s cluster of tenements have a swathe of impressive neighbours including Castile Resources with its Rover 1 deposit that has recorded impressive hits highlighted by 30.4m at 36.5g/t gold from 506.5m, in addition to 21m going 6.86 per cent copper from 469m. Castile’s project sits directly west of King River’s Rover East operation.

Tennant Creek East sits west of Emmerson Resources’ Mauretamia deposit that hosts a mineral resource of 256,000 tonnes at 3.5g/t gold for 29,000 ounces, while the Barkly project sits in an area where multiple exploration companies, including Newcrest and Middle Island, have pegged all the available ground in a corridor that strikes between Mount Isa and Tennant Creek based on IOCG prospectivity identified by government work.

King River intends to stay very focused on the Tennant Creek project areas right through calendar 2024 with the objective of testing more than 12 different priority locations with nearly 20,000 metres of drilling. Tennant Creek hosts one of the highest-grade (grams per tonne mined) goldfields in Australia, and King River’s holdings measure over 7000 square kilometres of that territory. The first phase of an 81-hole, budgeted ~$2.5 million drilling campaign has commenced with 17 holes completed and lodged for assaying. King River Resources chairman Anthony Barton

In June last year, a total of 34 holes were drilled at the project’s Kurundi Main prospect where rock-chip samples returned multiple results between 10g/t and 17g/t gold along a previously undrilled 2km trend. High-grade results show one 7m section going 6.35g/t gold from 25m, including 2m at 21.3g/t with 1m grading 35.26g/t.

Another highlight was a 6m intercept going 4.77g/t gold, including 3m running 9.28g/t with 1m at 14.76g/t gold, while a nearby 5m intersection recorded 3.84g/t from 22m, including 2m at 7.82g/t with 1m grading 9.99g/t gold.

King River says the vein remains open to the north, south and at depth, with the deepest hole intersecting mineralisation. The best results came from drilling near the main workings.

The explorer also recorded positive copper and silver results after analysis of assays from its RC drill program at the prospect.

Highlights included a 3m hit recording 8.4 per cent copper from 31m, including a 1m section at 21.81 per cent copper, while the same hole also showed a 4m intercept going 49.5g/t silver from 30m including 1m at 176g/t.

The high-grade rock-chip samples were collected at the company’s Tarragans, Millers and Priesters prospects that form part of the bigger Kurundi Main prospect. Additional rock-chip samples taken following the positive drilling results returned grades up to 49.5g/t gold at the same prospects.

Priesters is an area of extensive quartz vein exposure where historical digging has taken place.

Across Western Australia’s border from the Northern Territory, King River also holds the Mt Remarkable gold project in the Kimberley region through its wholly-owned subsidiary Whitewater Minerals.

The company has completed several RC and diamond-core drilling campaigns at the operation where it intersected high-grade gold mineralisation at the Trudi Main vein, including drilling results of 4m at 113.29g/t gold with 1m grading an impressive 346g/t back in 2018.

The Mt Remarkable gold project is 200km south-west of Kununurra in WA’s East Kimberley district where the company has identified a smorgasbord of exploration targets across its vastly underexplored tenements. King River also spotted visible gold in its maiden diamond hole at Trudi Main, with high-grade assays coming in at 2m grading 16.78g/t including 1m at 31.8g/t gold from 15m downhole.

According to King River, past exploration along the prospective Whitewater volcanic rocks trend – which hosts the Trudi high-grade mineralisation – has been sparse and augurs well for the prospects of making additional high-grade gold discoveries within its exploration licences that cover an area of more than 2300sq km.

However, the company’s immediate focus will be on its ongoing drill campaign at Tennant Creek in an area where the NT Government believes there are significant resources of both gold and copper undeveloped in the field.

An old market saying suggests that “the trend is your friend” and King River will be hoping its frenzied drilling foray into new ground within a historic mining area will extend a successful tradition.

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