Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 0605R
Empire Metals Limited
27 February 2023
 

Empire Metals Limited / LON: EEE / Sector: Natural Resources

 

27 February 2023

 

Empire Metals Limited

("Empire" or "the Company")

 

Extensive Kaolin Mineralisation Identified at Eclipse-Gindalbie

 

Empire Metals Limited (LON: EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, is pleased to provide an update on the reverse circulation ('RC') drilling programme recently completed at the Eclipse-Gindalbie Project (the 'Project'), located in Western Australia. A campaign consisting of nine RC drill holes for 770m was completed in January, targeting both kaolin and high-grade gold mineralisation around the historical South Gippsland #3 mine, which to date has been under-explored.

 

Highlights

·    Seven holes were drilled for kaolin with three reporting the following significant white kaolin intercepts:

40m at 21.12% Al2O3 from 8m to 48m downhole (23GPRC_005);

12m at 20.87% Al2O3 from 4m to 16m downhole (23GPRC_003);

22m at 21.47% Al2O3 from 18m to 40m downhole (23GPRC_003);

11m at 20.80% Al2O3 from 13m to 24m downhole (23GPRC_006).

·    Kaolin is used extensively in a number of industries including paper, plastics, adhesives, rubber, paint, refractories, cement, bricks and ceramics, and is considered to be a desirable feedstock for the production of high-purity aluminium oxide ('alumina') which is an essential component in lithium-ion batteries.

·    Of the two holes drilled for gold mineralisation, one reported the following significant intercepts:

1.5m at 5.04 g/t Au from 47m to 48.5m downhole (23GPRC_009);

1.5m at 1.73 g/t Au from 49.5m to 51m downhole (23GPRC_009).

 

Shaun Bunn, Managing Director, said: "Whilst our focus remains on our potential "Giant" copper project at Pitfield with planning for the maiden drill programme receiving the upmost priority, these recent drill results from Gindalbie are nonetheless highly encouraging, having returned multiple significant intercepts of white kaolin from our initial targeted area, just west of the historical South Gippsland #3 mine.  Further test work on the kaolin samples collected from this drill programme is required to ascertain the likely kaolin yield and brightness, two key factors in determining the quality of any potential deposit. We expect this metallurgical evaluation to commence in the next few weeks."

 

"In addition to the kaolin intercepts encountered, one of the test holes adjacent to the South Gippsland #3 shaft has returned high gold values.  This drill hole encountered a small stope between 48.5m and 49.5m where the high-grade gold vein had previously been  mined.  Further drilling along strike of this intercept is warranted to test the extent of this high-grade gold shoot."

 

RC Drilling Campaign at Eclipse-Gindalbie

The Eclipse-Gindalbie Gold Project consists of two adjacent mining leases, located near the historic gold mining town of Gindalbie, situated 55km north-east of Kalgoorlie.

 

Empire holds a 75% interest in the 306ha Eclipse mining lease (M27/153), which contains the Eclipse and Jack's Dream historical gold mine workings. In February 2022 Empire entered into a Tribute Agreement that gives Empire the exclusive right to explore, develop and mine within a granted area on Maher Mining's 100% owned mining lease M27/158 ('Gindalbie'), which sits adjacent to the eastern border of the Eclipse licence area and extends the current area for exploration targets by 643ha to a total of 943ha.

 

Following on from successful drilling campaigns in February 2022 and June 2022, targeting historical gold workings within the Gindalbie licence area, the Company decided to carry out a small RC campaign consisting of nine RC drill holes for 770m. This drilling focused around the historical South Gippsland #3 mine where previous drilling in February 2022 by the Company found evidence of kaolinite-rich clays within the intensely leached upper part of the weathering profile (Figure 1).

Map Description automatically generated

Figure 1:  Collar positions and drill hole details in proximity to historical workings of the South Gippsland # 3 Shaft. Note the red circled 2022 drill collars where kaolin was previously encountered.

Kaolin

Kaolinite is a nearly white to white, very fine-grained clay mineral, with the chemical composition Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Rocks that are rich in kaolinite are known as kaolin or "china clay". Kaolin is used in various industrial applications, from the manufacture of paper (its use provides the gloss on some grades of coated paper) to ceramics (it is the main component of porcelain). In recent years kaolin has been considered as a feedstock for the production of High Purity Alumina (HPA), an essential component in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.

 

The Company decided to drill to test the extent and quality of the kaolin found at the project  and to determine what association it may have with the adjacent high-grade South Gippsland #3 gold mine. If found in enough quantities and quality, kaolin, has the potential to add significant value to the Eclipse-Gindalbie Gold Project.

 

The kaolin present in the area around the South Gippsland #3 shaft is "saprolitic" kaolin, derived from the surficial weathering of felsic or metamorphic rocks. Felsic volcanic rocks have been mapped in the licence area by the Geological Survey of Western Australia (1:100 000 Gindalbie map, plate 3237), and have been identified through mapping, drilling and ground magnetic survey interpretation carried out by Touchstone Geophysics on the adjacent Eclipse tenement, in the vicinity of the Houdini prospect.

 


Figure 2:  Regional geology with respect to the Eclipse-Gindalbie Project

No fresh rock was intersected during this drilling campaign. There were strongly weathered, fine grained, foliated saprock chips intersected deeper in the holes which are likely to be of the locally dominant intermediate volcanoclastic rocks frequently intersected across the tenements.

 

Of the seven RC holes drilled for kaolin, four returned significant intercepts of white kaolin (Table 1).  These four RC holes also encountered orange to red coloured saprolitic clays sitting immediately below the white kaolin. The remaining three RC holes were drilled through predominantly orange to red coloured saprolitic clays on the periphery of the white kaolin intercept.  Whilst the Al2O3 enrichment observed in the kaolin continued into the saprolitic clays the saprolitic clays reported elevated levels of Fe2O3 which displaces the Al2O3 and accounts for the distinctive change in colour from white to orange to red.

 

Table 1: Significant kaolin intercepts using a cut-off grade of 18% Al2O3 and colour (white to off-white cream).

Hole ID

From (m)

To (m)

Width (m)

Al2O3

(%)*

Comments

23GPRC_001

29

31

2

20.50

Only 2m white clays (kaolin intersected), the rest of the intersection is orange saprolitic clays

23GPRC_002





No significant kaolin intersection, Al2O3 enrichment throughout saprolitic clays

23GPRC_003

4

16

12

20.87

High QV content in from 2m to 24m


18

40

22

21.47

Al2O3 enrichment continues into light orange saprolitic clays

inc

28

36

8

22.20


23GPRC_004

23

32

9

22.08

Al2O3 enrichment continues into red saprolitic clays

inc

28

32

4

23.26


23GPRC_005

8

48

40

21.12

Al2O3 enrichment continues into orange coloured saprolitic clays

inc

31

38

7

23.23


23GPRC_006

10

12

2

19.44



13

24

11

20.80

Al2O3 enrichment continues into light coloured saprolitic clays

23GPRC_007





No significant kaolin intersection, Al2O3 enrichment continues into saprolitic clays

*Weighted average

 



 

The colour difference between the kaolin and the saprolitic clays is very distinctive, as illustrated in Figure 3 below. Kaolin was intersected from 2m to 48 in GPRC23_005, however significant narrow quartz veining throughout the kaolin horizon resulted in above cut-off Al2O3 content only being intersected from 8m.


Figure 3.  Kaolin intersected in GPRC23_005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A picture containing chart Description automatically generated

Figure 4. Section of GPRC23_003, GPRC23_004 and GPRC23_005 showing Al2O3 content, both within the kaolin zone and the underlying saprolitic clays.

 

Figure 5. Section of GPRC23_006 and GPRC23_007 showing Al2O3 content, both within the kaolin zone and the underlying saprolitic clays.Graphical user interface, diagram Description automatically generated

 

Of the two RC holes drilled for gold mineralisation adjacent to the South Gippsland #3 mine, one reported the following significant intercepts.

 

Table 2: Significant gold intercepts at a downhole cut-off grade of >0.3g/t Au and >1g Au*m intervals

Hole ID

From (m)

To

(m)

Width (m)

Au

(g/t)

Comments

GPRC23_009

47

48.5

1.5

5.04

Supergene enrichment adjacent to stopes

GPRC23_009

49.5

51

1.5

1.73

Supergene enrichment adjacent to stopes

 

The drilling encountered a narrow stope between 48.5m and 49.5 m downhole.

 

Figure 6 shows the lack of quartz veining and alteration in the auriferous intervals intersected in GPRC23_009. Mineralisation is likely to be attributed to supergene enrichment into the transitional horizon prior to the primary quartz lode being mined out.


Figure 6.  Stoping intersected in GPRC23_009. Mineralisation is likely to be attributed to supergene enrichment into the transitional horizon.

 

Sampling and Analysis

 

For the drill holes targeting kaolin, spear-generated 4m composites, and where appropriate 1m single splits, were submitted for analysis. 1m splits were selected based on their colour (degree of whiteness). Samples were selected up to 60m, after that the regional proximity saprock led to the material becoming unfavourable to sample. The samples were delivered by the geological crew to Intertek Kalgoorlie. The samples were crushed and pulverised and  then analysed by XRF using a Li borate fusion XRF. Samples were assayed for Al2O3, SiO2, CaO, Cr2O3, Fe2O3, K2O, MgO, MnO, Na2O, P2O5, SO3, and TiO2. No size differentiation or processing was completed prior to analysis.

 

For the drill holes targeting gold mineralisation, spear-generated 4m composites were submitted as a first round pass.  The samples were delivered by the geological crew to Intertek Kalgoorlie. The samples were crushed and pulverised to at least 85% passing -75µm before being  analysed by Fire Assay (50 gram charge) with an AAS finish. The lowest limit of detection being 0.005g/t Au.

 

The trigger for collecting further 1m re-splits was if gold concentration in the composite samples exceeded 0.2 g/t Au. The single split samples were then collected and delivered by the geological crew to ALS Kalgoorlie for priority processing.  Samples were crushed and pulverised to at least 85% passing -75µm. They were then analysed by Fire Assay (50 gram charge) with an AAS finish.  The lowest limit of detection being 0.05g/t Au.

 

Future Work

 

The next phase of the exploration programme will focus on the metallurgical quality of the white kaolin samples collected from this drill programme.  Test work is required to ascertain the size distribution of the samples, with the clean kaolin generally reporting to the <45 micron fraction (referred to as the "yield"). The fine kaolin is then tested to establish a brightness factor. Brightness refers to the percentage of blue light reflected from the clay surface at a specific, effective wavelength of 457.  Yield and brightness, along with the iron content, are the key factors in determining the quality of any potential deposit.

 

Should the white kaolin achieve acceptable levels of yield and brightness then a further drilling program, utilising air-core (AC) drill rigs over a broader target area, is warranted to delineate the extent of this white kaolin zone.

 

Competent Person Statement

The technical information in this report that relates to the Eclipse-Gindalbie Project has been compiled by Ms Louisa Stokes, an employee of Eclipse Exploration Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire. Ms Stokes is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Ms Stokes is employed in the role of Exploration Geologist and has assisting with the exploration activities for the Eclipse-Gindalbie project areas. Ms Stokes has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves'. Ms Stokes consents to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on her information in the form and context in which it appears.

 

 

Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure

Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014, as incorporated into UK law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, until the release of this announcement.

 

**ENDS**

 

For further information please visit www.empiremetals.co.uk  or contact:

Empire Metals Ltd

Shaun Bunn / Greg Kuenzel

Tel: 020 7907 9327

S. P. Angel Corporate Finance LLP (Nomad & Broker)

Ewan Leggat / Adam Cowl

Tel: 020 3470 0470

Shard Capital Partners LLP (Joint Broker)

Damon Heath

Tel: 020 7186 9950

St Brides Partners Ltd (Financial PR)                                         

Susie Geliher / Ana Ribeiro / Max Bennett

Tel: 020 7236 1177

 

 

 

About Empire Metals Limited

Empire Metals is an AIM-listed (LON: EEE) exploration and resource development company with a project portfolio comprising gold interests in Australia and Austria.

 

The Company's strategy is to develop a pipeline of projects at different stages in the development curve. Its initial focus has been on the high-grade Eclipse and Gindalbie Gold Projects in Western Australia.  The Company expanded its exploration licence area in April 2022 from 9.5km2 to 1,728km2 with the acquisition of the Pitfield Copper-Gold Project and the Walton Copper-Gold Project in Western Australia, and the Stavely Copper-Gold Project in the Stavely Arc region of Victoria. 

 

Empire also holds a portfolio of three precious metals projects located in a historically high-grade gold production region comprising the Rotgulden, Schonberg and Walchen prospects in central-southern Austria.

 

The Board continues to evaluate opportunities through which to realise the value of its wider portfolio and reviews further assets which meet the Company's investment criteria.

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