Early Syrah backer Tolga Kumova has filled his boots with shares in $66m Alderan and is now excitedly – or nervously – waiting for results from drilling at its Frisco copper project in Utah. Plus, Rio’s deal with Alloy is more evidence the multi-national has landed a big copper find in WA.
Tolga Kumova reckons he is “bloody excited’’ about what might come from the drilling program that has just kicked off at Alderan Resources’ (ASX: AL8) Frisco copper project in Utah.
He’s got close to 15% of the stock after picking up another 600,000 shares earlier in the week. So he’s got a lot riding on the drill program, one which is targeting the big time potential of AL8’s flagship Accrington/Perseverance prospects at the Beaver County property.
Kumova has been here before. The former stockbroker-come-expansive-mining-investor made his name backing the now $820m Syrah (SYR) when it was a $15m company in 2011 on the strength of what might come from its Balama graphite project in Mozambique.
He recalled this week that the first time he walked over the outcropping Balama deposit he could see graphite everywhere and got “bloody excited’’ about what a drill campaign might prove. History shows Balama went on to become a Tier 1 discovery, the development of which is reshaping the global graphite market.
Walk the Frisco project and it’s hard not to stub your toe on the outcropping copper mineralisation, or fall down an old mining shaft. But as Kumova is the first to say, the ultimate test of Frisco’s potential rests with what the drill bit finds. So while it is good to be excited, Kumova and other AL8 shareholders (directors and management hold 50% of the stock) have also got to be feeling a bit nervous.
We will all know soon enough. A 7,000m drill program has kicked off, with the first hole set to test the outcropping copper/zinc/silver/gold-bearing skarns at the historic Imperial copper mine before heading off to the deeper Perseverance porphyry copper prospect at depth.
Despite the widespread historical mining activity and surface mineralisation, the program is the first drilling in the broader Accrington area since the 1960s (36.6m at 1.23% copper with zinc values from an outcropping skarn was recorded in 1969). The first hole will be drilled to a depth of 1km, making it the first test of the indicated Perseverance porphyry.
In anticipation of what may come, AL8 shares put on 8.5c or 17% yesterday to close at 58.5c, giving it a none too shabby market cap of market $66m. While original shareholders in the June 2017 float are doing nicely on their 20c entry price, AL8 did suffer from a bout of irrational exuberance when it got to $2.40 a share late last year.
An early drilling program at the Cactus prospect in the broader Frisco area generated some nice results but did not reinvent the wheel, making the drilling program now underway, at what was always the flagship prospect at Frisco, the key to AL8s direction from here on.
ALLOY RESOURCES (ASX:AYR):
Apologies to Alloy Resources (AYR) executive chairman Andy Viner for omitting Alloy as a player in WA’s remote Paterson region where Rio Tinto is rumoured to have made a copper discovery of size (RRS June 15: Rio’s hush-hush copper find in WA shaping up as a big ‘un).
Unbeknown to most, little Alloy picked up a tenement in the Paterson last November, just ahead of a pegging frenzy by Rio to lock the back door on its yet-to-be-confirmed copper discovery, reported here to be some 120km north-north-west of Newcrest’s Telfer gold-copper deposit.
As mentioned last week, satellite imagery shows that among the sand dunes, Rio has drilled at least 10 holes at 200m spacings with selected 100m infill holes and that it has recently cleared a site for a 40-man exploration camp.
The talk is that Rio got excited after it hit primary copper at a depth of 40m followed by visible primary mineralisation down to depths of 180m in two holes 200m apart just before the 2017 drilling program came to an end.
Rio has since pegged all the way north-west to 80 Mile Beach between Port Hedland and Broome on the coast, taking its land holding in the Paterson to a massive 9,000sqkm.
To that can be added Alloy’s November pick-up, with Alloy announcing during the week that it had struck a farm-in deal with Rio. It’s not the biggest spending farm-in around (Rio can earn a 70% interest by reimbursing Alloy $40,000 and spending at least $500,000 within three years). But it does go to Rio’s apparent eagerness to lock up as much Paterson ground within cooee of its discovery up north as it can.
The Alloy tenement’s northern boundary is some 50km south of the Rio discovery while its southern boundary is 25km from Telfer. Viner knows the area well from back in his days as exploration manager for Gindalbie when gold was its focus.
“It was just very fortuitous that the ground fell vacant,’’ Viner said yesterday about his November pick up. “No one has done anything on it since the late 1990s. When I was with Gindalbie we just did some first pass AC drilling and got some quite interesting copper and gold numbers which reinforced an old BHP anomaly.’
“Geologically, it’s prospective but logistically and financially it’s is very challenging. So I think it is a big company play for sure.”
So Alloy joins Antipa (AZY), Sipa (SRI), Red Metal (RDM), and Fortescue (FMG) no less, in having regional exposure to the Rio discovery.
And like all of those, Alloy has more on the go than its Paterson exposure. It is also in the thick of things in the cobalt rush to the west of Broken Hill in NSW, and it is currently drilling on its Horse Well joint venture with Doray Minerals in the WA’s north eastern goldfields, to the north-west of Northern Star’s pride and joy, the Jundee gold mine.
Alloy’s joint venture deal with Rio looks to have shone a light on the company. Its shares gained 0.1c or 16.6% yesterday to 0.7c, giving it a market cap of about $9m.