Thomson Resources (ASX:TMZ) is building resources at its New England Fold Belt ‘hub and spoke’ silver projects.
The explorer is ready to hit the ground running after consolidating a string of key assets on the NSW and Queensland Tablelands that host historic silver resources and are also prospective for gold and critical base metals.
Its first priority is the high-grade Conrad silver mine, the region’s largest producer of the precious metal with 3.5Moz of historic production at ripper grades of 600 grams to the ton.
Conrad also produced base metals co-products lead, copper, zinc and tin — all metals moving in a positive direction in 2021.
Thomson’s plan is to undertake re-estimations of historic resources across its now vast New England fold belt projects.
It has a head start at Conrad – purchased last year along with the Webbs project from Silver Mines (ASX: SVL) for a 19 per cent stake in the company – from “quality” historic exploration from Malachite Resources (now Pacific Nickel Mines).
More than meets the eye at Conrad
That includes a mineral resource estimate from Malachite completed in 2008 which is not JORC 2012 compliant, but there is reason to believe Thomson and consultants AMC will be able to do more than just confirm the historic data.
The old resource was delivered on the basis of 107 drill holes at Conrad up to 2008. But six holes drilled into the resource area in 2010 pulled up hits like 1.2m at 790.9g/t silver equivalent and 1.6m at 159.5g/t silver equivalent.
Then there’s the narrow widths used to calculate the initial resource estimate of 1.2m, much less than the 1.7m average in intercepts within the 3D Conrad Lode model.
Thomson executive chairman David Williams said Conrad was the “first cab off the rank” in a systematic process to deliver a substantial resource base across its fold belt silver proejcts.
“We have now initiated a systematic process to deliver new mineral resource calculations over the coming months, incorporating a fuller suite of metals and outlining the very attractive exploration prospectively of all our 100% owned Tablelands projects,” he said.
“Thomson is very pleased to be able to leverage the quality historic exploration from Malachite Resources NL, making Conrad the first “cab off the rank” where we anticipate a positive outcome from the new mineral resource calculation, encompassing silver as well as a suite of critical metals, such as zinc, copper, tin and lead.
“This work has also highlighted a number of exciting exploration targets and mineral resource extension targets that we will be pursuing. In parallel, we are advancing systematic analysis of the existing metallurgical test work of each project.
“This analysis will identify knowledge gaps and include a high-level processing pathway analysis to define, at a conceptual level, the process options for a potential central processing hub that would be at the heart of the Fold Belt Strategy”.
While Conrad is the first step for Thomson – with the resource estimate due for the next quarter – it has plans to deliver new estimates at its other New England Fold Belt ‘hub and spoke’ Projects including the Silver Spur Mine, Webbs and Texas projects going forward.
History tells part of the tale
Thomson has a database of 138 historic drill hits to work off for the updated Conrad resource.
The mine began underground from 1891-1912, before it was revived after World War 2.
Between 1947 and 1957 Broken Hill South Limited extracted ore from 1.4km of strike to 267m deep via underground stoping.
Modelling of the Conrad Lode system has shown several mineralised shoots are open and untested below 350m, giving Thomson a string of priority resource extension targets to work off.
There are regional opportunities as well. Hosted within a 7.5km fault zone, the company says just 2.2km at the north-western end has been drilled or mined, with a number of anomalies identified on the open trend.
This article was developed in collaboration with Thomson Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.