SA Mines and Energy Journal : October-November 09
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 26 COMPANY PROFILE With gold briefly touching US$1000 an ounce, and an increase in the resource at their Tunkillia project, partners Minotaur Exploration and Helix Resources are growing more confident about the prospects for a new South Australian gold mine. The Tunkillia gold deposit, which covers a sizeable area south of Tarcoola on northern Eyre Peninsula, has proved to be a frustrating puzzle for explorers. Despite bullish assessments of its potential by 1996 discoverer Helix and erstwhile partner Acacia, its complex structure and low grades have so far confounded the hopes for launching a new gold mine. But now Minotaur Exploration -- which discovered the whopping Prominent Hill copper- gold deposit and is continuing its quest for another major ore body in SA's north -- believes it is getting closer to success. It has upgraded the main mineralised zone, Tunkillia 223, while searching for further deposits nearby to enhance the prospects for a mining project. The Adelaide-based company, which holds 51 per cent of Tunkillia in partnership with Helix, has outlined a "robust resource" of 803,000 ounces of gold, together with silver credits of 1.66 million ounces, a 27 per cent increase in the JORC measured and indicated resource. Managing Director Derek Carter said the latest estimate followed new drilling and a reinterpretation of the deposit by Minotaur over the past two years. However, Mr Carter said the mineralisation was under 30 to 50 metres of alluvial cover, which would increase the cost of mine development. To improve the economics, the company is looking for a second deposit in the region and is awaiting final results from a "promising" geochemical survey completed by University of Adelaide before selecting further drilling sites. Minotaur Exploration Manager Tony Belperio said the joint venture was exploring several promising areas nearby -- including Tomahawk, 10km from Tunkillia -- to increase the resource. At US$1000 an ounce, he said, the existing resource was a profitable proposition, but the partners believe the project will be better served with a larger resource base before committing to a final feasibility study, which would cost about $4 million. All that glitters... Minotaur Exploration has been on an interesting journey since it first struck gold, writes Chris Milne. Minotaur Managing Director Derek Carter with a core mining sample.