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East Star Resources awarded copper porphyry exploration licence

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Global Mining Review,

East Star Resources Plc, a Kazakhstan-focused copper exploration and resource development company, has announced the award of the first copper porphyry exploration licence under the new copper porphyry exploration strategy initially funded through a US$500 000 grant from the BHP Xplor programme.

Together with BHP, East Star is developing a strategy of regional target generation for copper porphyry deposits, principally focused on the BalkashIli magmatic arc, host to the Kounrad deposit (~650 million t at 0.59% copper [Cu]) and Aktogai-Aidarly (~2.5 billion t at 0.39% Cu). By applying modern mineral systems concepts with advanced desktop analytical techniques and on-the-ground geological confirmation, East Star intends to secure several further exploration licences within the area of interest for further field work. The BHP Xplor grant will be directed towards licence costs, field programmes, desktop evaluation work, and staff and administrative costs in the execution of the work plan. The programme will be managed by East Star with guidance from BHP and a wider team of experts.

Alex Walker, East Star CEO, commented: “We're happy to have our first licence under the new copper porphyry strategy, which has already undergone an initial site visit in June 2023 by Non-Executive Director, Chris van Wijk. The site visit confirmed easy site access and hydrothermal alteration associated with a silica lithocap which was identified from satellite imagery. We're looking forward to getting on the ground for geological mapping and soil sampling to advance this prospect and continuing our high-level desktop work for other prospects in this huge and underexplored mineral belt by using the foundational frameworks shared by BHP as part of the Xplor programme.”

The licence is located on the eastern end of the paleozoic Balkash-Ili volcanic arc. The Balkash-Ili arc is known to host multiple copper and gold rich porphyry and skarn deposits with the best-known examples including Kounrad (5 million t contained Cu) and Aktogai-Aidarly which is located some 80 km to the south of the licence.

The Aktogai cluster of deposits consists of the Aktogay, Aidarly and Kyzilkia orebodies which were emplaced into the large Late Carboniferous Koldar Pluton and its associated volcanic rocks around 327 Ma. Aktogai contains approximately 10 million t of contained copper and 60 t of gold (Seltmann, R. & Porter, M. 2005).

The work history of the licence is still being compiled from archive data; however, the prospect was identified during soviet era mapping which shows a large 'secondary quartzite' and anomalous gold in several areas around the licence. 'Secondary quartzites' were a soviet term used to refer to the residual, leached silica lithocaps which are commonly associated with porphyry intrusions. This lithocap has also been identified through analysis of ASTER multispectral data collected and processed by the USGS and has been classified as Argillic alteration which has been confirmed by a field visit carried out in 2023.

The licence is well served by existing infrastructure including a railway used to transport concentrate from the Aktogai mining complex, which runs through the south-east of the licence, and a well-maintained gravel road running from Aktogai in the south to Ayagoz (town) in the north alongside the railway.

Initial work on the licence shall consist of confirmatory geological mapping and broadly spaced soil samples combined with Terraspec analysis. The results of these works will enable the Company to confirm or negate the prospectivity of the system through analysis of the metal zonation patterns and the clay species within the soils.

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Copper mining news Gold mining news Opencast mine news