Copper mine for range

ARGONAUT Resources has identified a copper and zinc deposit near Kroombit National Park, south of Biloela, that could spearhead its plans for an open-cut mine in the area.

The company's managing director, Graeme Ellis, said the deposit was on freehold land owned entirely by Argonaut and was outside the Kroombit Tops National Park.

Mr Ellis said the deposits were on the surface and future mining would be by open cut.

He said Argonaut owned other deposits in the area and these would be explored for their potential to supplement the Kroombit deposit.

He said until the capacity of other deposits could be determined, it was not possible to indicate what the size of the operations would be.

“To safeguard potential extensions to the original deposit, Argonaut holds 100% of two surrounding Mineral Exploration Permits and has applied for a further two EPMs where it plans to conduct exploration for further base-metal deposits,” he said.

The findings were based on the results of an extensive drilling program by Argonaut in 2007-08 comprising four drill holes.

Mr Ellis said the Argonaut deposit sites had evidence of previous mining activity dating back as far as 100 years ago.

Mr Ellis said the ore would be mined by the open-cut method and transported in the form of a concentrate by trucks to port.

He said from Argonaut's perspective Gladstone harbour was accessible and had the infrastructure needed for the export of the product.

Mr Ellis said the findings confirmed there was significant potential for additional copper and zinc mineralisation both below the existing deposits and around the periphery of the resource.

“The next step was to conduct further exploration so as to be able to supplement the Kroombit find,” he said.

Mr Ellis said the size of the operation and the number of people employed to do the work would depend on the results of other nearby sites which would be brought in to supplement the maiden deposit.

There was no date at this stage for the start of any future operations.

Mr Ellis said although the minerals market, because of the global financial crisis, was depressed, it was a good time for exploring the sites.

“When the boom is on you can't get the gear, the drills, the machinery, the geologists and all the other things you need for the exploration,” he said.

“Argonaut also received highly encouraging results from continuing zinc sulphide flotation tests, which produced a zinc concentrate grading of 58% with an 87% recovery rate.”

The resource estimate is based on a total of 16,972 from 201 drill holes completed by Argonaut within the past two years.

When the boom is on you can't get the gear you need for exploration

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