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New Canadian copper hunt kicks off for American West Metals

American West geological field crew sampling at the Canadian Storm project. Credit: File

American West Metals (ASX: AW1) has vowed to uncover new zones of copper mineralisation at its Storm project on Canada’s Somerset Island in Nunuvut after kicking off this year’s exploration and resource definition drilling program.

The initial reverse-circulation (RC) campaign that will focus on high-priority and high-grade copper targets will also further explore the resource potential at the company’s Thunder prospect where last year’s drilling jagged a 48.6m copper intercept going 3 per cent copper, in addition to priority electromagnetic (EM) targets next to its Cyclone deposit.

One of the EM anomalies about 300m north-east of Cyclone yielded anomalously high conductivity of greater than 17,000 Siemens. A second and bigger EM anomaly, just 400m further to the west and centred 400m north of Cyclone, yielded a drill hit of 7.6m going 1 per cent copper.

The best hole reported for Cyclone was a 16m intercept going 3.07 per cent copper.

The company has also started a high-powered moving-loop EM (MLEM) geophysical survey to scout for new exploration targets and areas that could highlight expansion potential near known higher-grade resources, similar to what it has found with the Cyclone anomalies.

The drilling and exploration program for 2024 is now in full swing at the Storm Copper Project. The initial phase of drilling will use the tracked RC drill rig to move quickly through the initial exploration and resource definition areas. We believe these targets will give us strong potential for the discovery of new zones of copper mineralisation and confirmation of the resource potential in key areas. Early success in these areas will help to prioritise and focus the remainder of the drilling program.
American West Metals managing director Dave O’Neill

Management plans to mobilise additional drill rigs into the program to infill and expand on previous drilling of the estimated 12 million-tonne resource target at Cyclone, which runs grades of 1.2 per cent copper and 3.8 grams per tonne silver. It will also seek to further develop its Chinook deposit that contains an estimated 2.2 million-tonne resource running 1.5 per cent copper and 4g/t silver.

The assault with the additional rigs will also test below other known copper targets in the vicinity of the Storm project area and drill the bigger copper targets at the company’s Tornado, Blizzard and Tempest prospects. The proposed drilling is designed to build on the Storm project’s existing JORC-compliant resource numbers across its current targets of 17 million tonnes going 1.2 per cent copper and 3.4g/t silver.

The work is expected to bring some of last year’s high grade copper hits into a resource category and will also scout several other copper sulphide targets within the company’s 2000-square-kilometre licence area.

The Storm project lies in Canada’s remote north-east at Nunavut and features a string of copper-silver projects disposed generally in two trends of prospects along a 5km-long stretch of both northern and southern margins of a north-west/south-east trending graben – a down-faulted rift block. It is assumed that the faulted boundaries of the graben are conduits for mineralising solutions.

At this stage, the Cyclone deposit on the northern margin appears to be the best developed, with immediately adjacent EM anomalies indicating good lateral extension and growth potential.

The southern margin of the graben features a string of defined prospects including Cirrus, The Gap, Thunder, Lightning Ridge and Corona, in addition to nine defined EM anomalies and six defined high-priority induced-polarisation (IP) anomalies, among which six are coincident.

The use of geophysics at the project is important, with EM anomalies in the Storm area being shown to have a 100 per cent correlation with copper mineralisation that may run in excess of 2 per cent, while several drilled IP anomalies show a correlation with copper sulphide mineralisation and grades in the range of 0.5 per cent to 2 per cent copper.

Thunder features the 48.6m copper intercept going 3 per cent, while Lightning Ridge drilling nailed two intercepts in a single hole of 15.2m going 2.3 per cent copper and 15.2m at 2.1 per cent. Drilling at The Gap also yielded two intercepts in a single hole of 1.5m at 4.4 per cent copper and 2m going 2.5 per cent.

The company’s immediate future work includes ongoing RC drilling and geophysics, with EM surveys at Storm to be followed by similar work at the Tornado and Blizzard targets. Preparations are also being made to mobilise the additional rigs – one RC and one diamond drill – with a further 20,000m of drilling contemplated.

American West is plainly operating in what could accurately be termed a “target-rich environment”, with reliable and proven exploration methods and good potential for defining new targets and expanding existing targets and resources.

The planned work for the year stands a good chance of bringing to light a veritable “storm” of new data for the company to work through to bring it closer to its production objectives.

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