Thor Mining (LSE:THR) sat at 0.7p on Tuesday morning after revealing high-grade tungsten and copper intersections from drilling on the Samarkand deposit at its part-owned Bonya asset in Australia.

Thor owns a 40pc stake in Bonya, which is adjacent to its 100pc-owned, advanced Molyhil tungsten project in the Northern Territory of Australia. Bonya contains 13 outcropping tungsten deposits plus a copper resource, which Thor expects to add considerably to the life, scale, and economic outcomes of its proposed Molyhil operation.

Despite being part of a known tungsten province, no drilling has taken place at the Bonya licence area since the seventies. This changed last month when Thor - alongside its 60pc partner Arafura Resources - began a 2,500m RC drilling program after receiving approval in March from the Northern Territory Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

The drilling focuses on five targets called Samarkand, Jericho, White Violet, Tashkent, and Marrakesh, all of which have outcropping tungsten at surface. This ensures that drilling is into, or below, previously-known mineralisation.

In Tuesday’s update, Thor revealed that drilling on Samarkand had intersected strong grades for both tungsten and copper. On the tungsten side, this includes 15m at 0.44pc tungsten trioxide from 19 metres and 11m at 0.61pc tungsten trioxide from 64m. Elsewhere, drill holes encountered 12m at 0.69pc copper from 22m and 6m at 0.97pc copper from 38m.

On the results, Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing said: ‘More very good XRF tungsten results along with exciting copper readings from the Samarkand deposit at Bonya. The proposed Molyhil processing facility is designed to extract copper as well as tungsten and molybdenum so any primary copper at Bonya can be extracted at minimal additional cost. We look forward to the full laboratory assays from this drill program, along with results from the trench sampling from Marrakech and Tashkent, all expected during May.’

Monday’s results come just a week after Thor released the first set of interim results from its Bonya drilling programme, which it described as ‘substantially better than expectations’. Highlights included 27m at 0.32pc tungsten trioxide from 71m and 16m at 0.43pc copper from 43m at a hole on White Violet. Meanwhile, a hole at Tashkent delivered 2m at 0.43pc tungsten trioxide from 16m.

Alongside its work at Bonya, Thor has also been busy delivering progress in other areas of its portfolio. For example, in April it announced the commissioning of a resource estimate at its part-held Moonta copper project in South Australia. Moonta stakeholder Enviro Copper has engaged a mining consultancy called Mining Plus to prepare the forecast for several Moonta deposits considered amenable to in-situ recovery (ISR). Numerous drill holes made over several decades will provide the basis for this resource estimation.

Based in Adelaide, Moonta sits within the historical ‘copper triangle’ of South Australia. Here, around 300,000ts of copper was mined and processed from the 1860s until the 1920s. The site is thought to contain an ISR amenable exploration target of between 238Mt and 310Mt at a grade range of 0.18pc-0.23pc copper.

Enviro Copper is earning up to a 75pc interest in Moonta from ASX-listed Andromeda Metals. As part of an agreement announced in March, Thor can earn up to a 30pc stake in Enviro Copper before listing activities. These are ‘potentially scheduled’ for later this year, according to last month’s update.

Last month’s deal also saw Thor transfer its interest into the Adelaide-based Kapunda copper project into Enviro. Kapunda hosts an in-situ recovery (ISR) amenable inferred mineral resource estimate of 119,000ts of contained copper.

Thor held its interest in the product through a private Australian company called Environmental Copper Recovery (ECR). Thor announced an agreement to earn up to 60pc in ECR last August in exchange for convertible loans worth up to $1.8m.

ECR holds an agreement to earn, in two stages, up to 75pc of the rights over metals that may be recovered in the Kapunda deposit from ASX-listed miner Terramin. Under the Enviro MOU, Thor relinquished its interest in ECR in exchange for a 25pc, pre-listing, stake in Enviro for A$0.6m. It will also hold the right to acquire a further 5pc seed capital interest in the vehicle for $0.4m.

Thor said the new combined Enviro entity would provide a strategic opportunity to build a substantial ISR-focused copper exploration, development, and production business with an initial focus on Australia. It said a key strategic target would be the ‘timely development’ of Kapunda into production, which would demonstrate the viability of ISR. This model would then be applied to the larger scale Moonta project. Beyond its two initial interests, Enviro will aim to develop an expanded portfolio of ISR copper opportunities.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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