Essex Minerals Inc (CVE:ESX) (FRA:EWX1) told investors that the first phase drilling at its Cumberland joint venture project in Queensland, Australia had been an "exceptional success", with all six holes hitting favourable geology.
The drilling covering 1,248.9 metres (m) confirmed the initial interpretation that the RBZ Structural Zone is a large 3.5 kilometres by 700m wide structural corridor similar in geology to many of the world's major epithermal gold and gold-silver deposits.
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One hole in the southern part of the zone hit 18.8 grams per ton (g/t) gold and 160.6 g/t silver over 6.4m from 139.5m down hole.
"To hit favourable structures capable of hosting large epithermal deposits, including high-grade gold and silver in the southern part of the RBZ, in all six holes in the first-ever regional-scale drilling program on this property is extremely exciting," said Essex CEO Paul Loudon in a statement.
"Our technical team is now moving as quickly as possible to collate all information from the drilling and integrate it with the previous surface work, LiDAR structural interpretation and regional geophysics to best site the follow-up drill hole locations."
Loudon also highlighted that initial petrology studies indicated the high-grade gold in the discovery hole occurred as free gold particles not locked up in the sulfides, which had positive ramifications for potential recoveries.
Essex has the right to earn an initial first-stage of 50% of private Australian group KNX Resources Ltd's interest in three properties - Cumberland, Compass Creek and Mt Turner - by spending A$1 million on exploration by May 2021.
Essex said the drill rig would now move back to the southern RBZ zone to begin the Phase 2 drill program in mid to late October.
This is aimed at following up on high-grade mineralization encountered in the first hole, and test for lateral repetitions of mineralization as indicated from surface soil geochemistry and distribution of old workings, it said.
The northern Australian state of Queensland has a history of large epithermal gold deposits such as Kidston (5 million ounces (M oz) at 1.24 g/t gold), Mt Leyshon (3.4M oz at 1.43 g/t gold) and Pajingo (3M oz at 6 g/t gold) but remains under-explored in comparison to Western Australia and more recently Victoria.
Essex Minerals, based in Vancouver, is focused on mineral exploration and development opportunities, where it can adopt an option earn-in and joint venture model.
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