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Empire Metals Limited
30 May 2023
 

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

 

30 May 2023

Empire Metals Limited

("Empire" or "the Company")

 

"Giant" Copper and Titanium Mineral System Confirmed at Pitfield Project

 Including New, High-Grade Titanium Discovery

 

 

Empire Metals Limited (LON: EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, is pleased to announce that results from the Company's maiden Reverse Circulation ('RC') drill programme at the Pitfield Project ('Pitfield'), located in Western Australia, have confirmed the presence of a giant-scale hydrothermal mineral system enriched in titanium and copper. A new corporate presentation has also been uploaded to the Company's website and can be found at www.empiremetals.co.uk/investors/reports-presentations.

 

Highlights

 

·    Confirmed the presence of a giant (~40km by 8km) metal-rich mineral system, hosted by sedimentary rocks displaying extensive evidence of intense alteration by hydrothermal fluids. These fluids are thought to be responsible for the significant enrichment of both copper (Cu) and titanium (Ti) in these sedimentary host rocks.

·    Drilling has identified a new high-grade, titanium discovery with consistently high titanium grades returned in thick intersections over a wide area identified throughout the mineral system.

·    Titanium rich mineralisation (between 4% and 10% TiO2) was identified in all but one of 21 holes drilled, starting at or very near surface and with nearly a quarter of the holes still ending in high TiO2 values of up to 154 metres depth.

·    Highly anomalous copper values (+100ppm) were reported for 60% of the drill sample intervals, averaging 131ppm Cu and peaking at 605ppm Cu; over 25 times higher than the background copper-in-soil, indicating that this giant mineral system contains significant amounts of copper and potential for multiple copper deposits in other parts of the system.

·    Chalcopyrite, a copper-iron sulphide mineral, has been identified petrographically as well as in RC chip logging within samples that returned elevated Cu assay values.

·    Only 2% of this highly prospective, giant mineral system has been drilled to date demonstrating enormous potential for additional discoveries through future drilling currently being planned.

·    It is evident from these results that this giant mineral system is regionally zoned for a variety of valuable metals and that our maiden drill programme has discovered a particularly titanium-rich zone but has also provided critically important information as to where other metals, such as copper, have been concentrated.

 

Shaun Bunn, Managing Director, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with the results of our maiden drilling campaign.  Our research over the past year pointed to the presence of a newly recognized giant copper mineral system at Pitfield, in itself no minor feat, however the results announced today add a whole new dimension to this globally important asset - the discovery of titanium rich minerals in my view tells us we have a "Land of Giants" to explore. The scale, strength and consistency of the mineralised system cannot be overemphasised given that the drill holes were spaced several hundreds of metres to tens of kilometres apart, and that 53% of all samples collected contain an average 5.12% TiO2, and 60% were anomalous in copper.

 

"Clearly more work is required, not least because 98% of the mineralised system is still to be drilled and evidently we tagged an enormous, titanium rich part of the system. Based on the scale of this find, Pitfield has the potential to be one of the largest primary titanium sources discovered globally. Additional analysis is underway as we work to understand the magnitude and potential commercial value of this titanium mineral discovery within such a unique geological setting. However, it is also evident that this giant mineral system contains significant copper and these first-round results have also indicated to us where the more copper rich parts of this regionally zoned system may be."

 

The Pitfield Copper Project

Empire holds a 70% interest in Pitfield which is comprised of four granted Exploration Licences (E70/5465, E70/5876, E70/6320 and E70/6323) covering 1,042km2. Pitfield is located near Three Springs, a town 313km north of Perth, Western Australia on the Midlands Road, which until the opening of the Brand Highway in 1975 was the main road route from Perth to the state's north (refer Figure 1).

A picture containing text, map, diagram, atlas Description automatically generated

Figure 1.              Pitfield Project Location

 

Discussion of Results

The key outcomes from the maiden, reconnaissance RC drilling campaign are summarised below:

•             Drilling has confirmed that highly oxidising fluids have intensely and extensively altered the Mt Scratch sandstone-siltstone and Beaconsfield Conglomerate, along almost the entire strike length of the Yandanooka Basin;

•             The resulting giant-scale (~40km by 8km) hydrothermal mineral system is especially endowed with metals typically associated with a mafic rock source, such as copper, titanium and vanadium, but also notable for zinc and nickel locally;

•             The drill campaign consisted of 21 RC drill holes totalling 3,206 metres, with the first 18 holes focused near the old Mt Scratch workings to the north (representing only 2% of the overall, highly prospective mineral system) and the final three holes spread evenly across a 30km distance to the south;

•             Drilling was focused primarily on areas where the Company had previously identified extensive, highly chargeable-highly resistive anomalies, which have now been shown to be associated with very high levels of titanium oxide (generally between 4% and 10%) and significant hematite alteration of the sandstone-siltstone beds;

•             Preliminary mineralogical analysis of a small suite of selected RC chip samples has identified the common presence of several iron and titanium minerals including magnetite, hematite, and ilmenite as well as lesser rutile and chalcopyrite. Additional petrographic and mineralogic analysis from a larger sample suite collected from across all drill holes is required to better understand the identity, nature and relative abundance of the various titanium-bearing minerals.

 

Andrew Faragher, Exploration Manager for Empire, said: "One of our key objectives from the drilling was to better understand the geology and significance of several highly chargeable-highly resistive zones identified from Induced Polarisation ('IP') surveys. These zones have now been shown to be coincident with high concentrations of titanium-rich minerals and significant hematite alteration of early magnetite, possibly due to martitization of magnetite caused by a later injection of copper-bearing hydrothermal fluids.

 

"Higher grade copper anomalism appears to be associated with discrete structures, which may have acted as migration pathways for the copper rich mineralizing fluids that were superimposed upon the primary iron-titanium mineralization. Further gravity analysis, geochemical sampling (soils and auger) and geological mapping is planned to help vector future reconnaissance drilling towards the copper-rich parts of this giant mineral system.

 

The results of this maiden drilling programme have clearly indicated that this giant mineral system is not only capable of forming significant copper mineralisation but also potentially economic concentrations of titanium oxides. For example, of the 1,589 drill samples (2m intervals) collected, 53% returned significant TiO2 values exceeding 4.17% TiO2, peaking at 10.18% TiO2 and averaging 5.12% TiO2 (refer Table 1). Highly anomalous copper values were also reported for the same sample intervals, with 60% returning greater than 100ppm Cu, averaging 131ppm and peaking at 605ppm (which is over 25 times higher than the background Cu-in-soils measured immediately adjacent to the massively altered and mineralized host sandstone-siltstone beds).

 

Chalcopyrite, a copper-iron sulphide mineral, has been identified petrographically as well as in RC chip logging, within samples that returned elevated Cu assay values. The pervasive copper anomalism and presence of chalcopyrite in association with these extensively altered host rocks This highlights the potential for Pitfield to host significant Cu mineralisation in other parts of this regionally zoned mineral system.

 

Details of the Pitfield Exploration Programme

Empire commenced its maiden drilling campaign at Pitfield on 27 March 2023 with the main objective of testing the highly chargeable-highly resistive zones identified by DD-IP survey. This reconnaissance RC drilling was performed by Perth based Strike Drilling Pty Ltd, under the supervision of Empire's Exploration Manager, Mr Andrew Faragher.

 

The drilling campaign was successfully completed, on time and within budget, with the final hole being drilled by 15 April. In total 21 RC holes were drilled covering a total of 3,206 metres, with the average downhole depth of each hole being approximately 150 metres. Samples were taken at 2m intervals from surface for assaying purposes and at the conclusion of the campaign these samples were shipped to Intertek Minerals, in Perth, for multi-element analysis with a subset of samples sent for mineralogical analysis.

 

The majority of the drilling was performed near Mt Scratch, with the first 11 holes focusing on the 800m wide highly chargeable anomaly, adjacent to where the Company previously found high-grade copper-silver rock specimens (announced 30 January 2023). A further seven holes were drilled across two other highly chargeable targets lines within a few kilometres south of Mt Scratch. The final three holes were spaced separately and located much further to the south of Mt Scratch, again targeting highly chargeable anomalies. The drill hole collar locations are presented in Figure 2.

 


Figure 2.              Drill Hole Locations within E70/5465 (background magnetic intensity image)



 

Significant Drill Results

Hole ID

Depth From (m)

Depth To (m)

EOH (m)

Interval (m)

Grade (Ti %)

Grade (TiO2 %)

Target

RC23MTS001

2

154

196

152

2.64

4.40

Mt Scratch

inc.

2

46


44

2.71

4.52


inc.

84

154


70

2.71

4.52


RC23MTS002

30

150

178

120

2.83

4.72

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS003

92

170

178

78

2.85

4.75

Mt Scratch

inc.

92

138


46

2.90

4.84


RC23MTS004

0

72

178

72

2.89

4.82

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS004

136

169


33

3.00

5.00


RC23MTS005

0

128

156

128

2.68

4.47

Mt Scratch

inc.

58

100


42

2.75

4.59


inc.

88

128


40

2.84

4.74


RC23MTS006

0

50

160

50

2.55

4.25

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS006

60

114


54

2.67

4.45


RC23MTS007

0

88

154

88

2.73

4.55

Mt Scratch

inc.

34

62


28

2.96

4.94


RC23MTS008

10

148

148

138

2.90

4.84

Mt Scratch

inc.

10

62


52

2.95

4.92


inc.

86

126


40

3.00

5.00


inc.

136

148


12

3.34

5.57


RC23MTS009

0

34

154

34

2.81

4.69

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS010

0

36

154

36

2.72

4.54

Mt Scratch


96

148


52

2.64

4.40


RC23MTS011

4

20

154

16

2.82

4.70

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS011

90

148


58

2.58

4.30


RC23MTS012

0

44

154

44

2.66

4.44

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS012

110

136


26

2.78

4.64


RC23MTS013

0

38

154

38

2.75

4.59

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS014

2

30

154

28

2.77

4.62

Mt Scratch

RC23MTS014

132

152


20

2.80

4.67


RC23MTS015

30

154

154

124

2.88

4.80

Mt Scratch

inc.

84

152


68

3.04

5.07


RC23MTS016

0

154

154

154

2.84

4.74

Mt Scratch

inc.

2

32


30

3.31

5.52


inc.

48

100


52

3.00

5.00


RC23MTS017

0

154

154

154

2.64

4.40

Mt Scratch

inc.

0

46


46

2.74

4.57


inc.

98

132


34

2.74

4.57


RC23MTS018

70

150

154

80

2.86

4.77

Mt Scratch

inc.

98

150


52

3.02

5.04


RC23TOM001

10

148

148

138

2.80

4.67

Thomas

inc.

10

46


36

3.32

5.54


inc.

112

148


36

3.24

5.40


Table 1.                Significant Intercepts from RC Drilling with and incremental cut-off grade of >2.5% Ti (>4.17% TiO2 equivalent).

 

 

Further Work

The regional gravity and airborne magnetic surveys show locally important structures (refer Figure 3.) that may have once played a role in the migration of the metal-bearing hydrothermal fluids into the host sedimentary beds. Detailed surface mapping supported this preliminary interpretation and further suggested that specific stratigraphic zones lower down in the Mt Scratch Formation towards the underlying Beaconsfield Conglomerate, and indeed the Beaconsfield Conglomerate formation itself, are potentially more favourable host units for copper mineralisation, especially where these stratigraphic units are near surfacing thrust faults which may have acted as migration pathways for the mineralising fluids.

 

High-grade copper in surface rock samples has an observed association with discrete structures that cross the pervasively altered and Ti-mineralized sandstone-siltstone beds suggesting that a copper-bearing hydrothermal fluid event was superimposed onto the primary iron-titanium mineralization and may have precipitated significant concentrations of copper in another part of this regionally zoned mineral system, the scale of which is evident in Figure 3.

 


Figure 3.              Geological mapping with locally important structures - note the outline of the magnetic anomaly signifying the extent of this massive and intense alteration of the sedimentary beds.

 

 Future mapping, geophysics and geochemical sampling will focus on defining the key internal thrust faults, and other important structures within the Yandanooka basin, which have the potential to focus a later stage copper mineralisation event, possibly within the western and southern parts of the Pitfield property where there are indications of widespread copper anomalism including historical copper prospects. The geochemical sampling - soils, auger and aircore drilling as appropriate will be undertaken to define new bedrock drilling targets, both during and following the current cropping cycle.

 

Competent Person Statement

The technical information in this report that relates to the Pitfield Project has been compiled by Mr Andrew Faragher, an employee of Eclipse Exploration Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire. Mr Faragher is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr Faragher 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'. Mr Faragher consents to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on his 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 4583 1440

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

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 copper and 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 current focus is on the Pitfield Project in Western Australia, which has demonstrated strong potential to be a new "Giant" copper mineral system.  The Company is also advancing the Eclipse-Gindalbie Project in Western Australia, which is prospective for high-grade gold and also kaolin, which is used extensively in a number of industries and is considered to be a desirable feedstock for the production of high-purity alumina - an essential component in lithium-ion batteries.

 

The Company also has two further exploration projects in Australia; the Walton Project in Western Australia, and the Stavely Project in the Stavely Arc region of Victoria, in addition to three precious metals projects located in a historically high-grade gold production region in central-southern Austria.

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