It’s a momentous time for Thor Mining (AIM: THR |ASX: THR | OTCQB: THORF), as more and more encouraging results arrive for the Alford East copper-gold project.
Each new result seems better than the last, coming together to paint a truly impressive picture.
And, as that picture takes shape, the company’s appeal continues to grow.
Here, Nicole Galloway Warland, the firm’s managing director, speaks with Mining Maven about the South Australian copper-gold project.
Latest results find new and exciting high-grade zone
Warland praises the “exceptional grades”, at Alford East so far, with values far exceeding the Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) grades.
“Not only are the grades exciting, but we’re highlighting new zones of mineralisation,” she explains.
Latest results, revealed last month, showed a new, broad zone of high copper and gold grades from near-surface in hole 21AED005.
The values are certainly impressive, too, most notably including 72.7m at 1.0% copper and 0.19 grams per ton (“g/t”) of gold from 6.3m – including 18.2m at 2.0% copper and 0.34g/t gold from 15.8m.
With these, plus significant intercepts already reported for holes 21AED001 and 21AED002 earlier in August, the oxide mineralised system at Alford East has really hit a new level.
Those previously unveiled intercepts included 32.9m at 0.4% copper and 0.31g/t gold from 81.5 m at hole 21AED001, as well as hole 21AED002’s 59.9m at 0.31% copper from 21.9m.
In the release at the end of August, Warland commented that “the confirmed uplift in copper and gold grades along the controlling NNE structure continues to excite and exceed the directors of Thor expectations”.
She added then that the company was looking forward to testing the structure, which remains open along strike both to the north and south.
With so much to come, the managing director’s ambitions for the project are certainly taking shape.
Creating a “double-green” project
Moving forward, there are plenty of plans underway for Alford East—which currently stands at the proof-of-concept stage with the ultimate goal of in-situ copper and gold recovery.
Alongside core samples, Thor is also collecting groundwater samples at the project to conduct hydrogeology tests and determine the right lixiviant to use.
Lixiviants are liquid mediums capable of extracting a chosen metal from ore or minerals and form a part of Thor’s ultimate plan for “green copper extraction”, Warland tells us.
By “green” she explains that the goal is for exploration and development to carry a smaller environmental footprint thanks to the absence of both the open cut and tailings dam traditionally associated with mining.
But, on top of that, she says that the mine is also green in the sense that all of this effort is to obtain copper – an essential element when it comes to sustainability. Copper is vital, as Warland points out, for “solar farms, wind turbines, electric vehicles and batteries” and many other parts of the low carbon revolution.
On the subject of copper, given the metal is so necessary for creating a sustainable future, it’s unsurprising that t its price hit a record high in May this year. Indeed, Warland cites this–alongside the price of gold–as a key motivator behind Thor’s decision to maximise its focus on Alford East, in conjunction with its Ragged Range gold project in the Pilbara WA.
And, to this end, the company is moving away from its USA tungsten interests.
Thor streamlines with non-core tungsten project sale
As the picture Thor is painting at Alford East takes shape, and the investment case grows ever clearer, the company is working to streamline its wider portfolio.
Thus, alongside the Alford East news at the end of August, the company revealed an option agreement to divest its non-core Pilot Mountain tungsten project.
Motivation for the move, as Warland explains, comes from a decision to focus on that copper-gold core. This is especially true given the “large sum of money” it would take to bring Pilot Mountain to production.
Covid-19 also played a role in the company’s sale of the project, since it presented such a major obstacle to travel.
“We felt that Pilot Mountain was a distraction to us rather than a core asset, and we’re encouraged by the option agreement,” Warland says.
Thor will sell the project, located in the US state of Nevada, to Power Metal Resources (LON: POW).
The deal’s agreed value is $1.8 million – that includes an initial $25,000 cash plus 500,000 shares at an issue price of 2.5p (worth £12,500) for a 60-day option period. This option period allows Power Metal to complete due diligence and acquire the project.
Upon the option exercise, Power is to pay a further $115,000 in cash plus $1.65million in shares, that’s 48 million shares total at 2.5p each.
The deal also includes 12.5 million warrants to subscribe for more Power shares at 4p each – the life expiry on these being three years.
Finally, an additional $500,000 milestone payment to Thor is also possible should Golden Metal publish a Pilot Mountain JORC or 43-101 compliant resource within the next two years. This increases by 25% against the existing declared levels across both the indicated and inferred categories.
So far, Pilot Mountain only has a JORC 2012 indicated and inferred resources estimate for two of its four known deposits. The most recent, conducted in 2018 for the Desert Scheelite deposit, showed 10.7 million tonnes at 0.26% tungsten trioxide, 19.38 grams/tonne silver (Ag), 0.15% copper, and 0.38% zinc.
Garnet is the other deposit with a JORC 2012 indicated and inferred resources estimate, finding 1.83 million tonnes at 0.36% tungsten trioxide.
In mining, an inferred resource refers to the portion of the mineral resource based on limited geographic and sampling information. An indicated resource is more substantial, requiring enough evidence to support mine planning and evaluate deposit economics.
And the disposal isn’t the only big change for the firm. Executive chair Mick Billing tendered his resignation at the start of September to pursue his own personal and business interests.
Bottom line is, it’s these moments of change that often present some of the best opportunities for investors.
Potential shines through with more results to come
Results from Alford East are clearly boosting share price performance. Since those first results from holes 21AED001 and 21AED002, the explorer value has increased 7%.
With so much to look forward to, including further assay results over the coming weeks from Alford East, and the commencement of RC drilling at Ragged Range in October, there could be plenty of catalysts for a further rise on the horizon.
If we think of Alford East as a picture, the current stage is something like an underpainting – the first paint layer that serves as a base for all future layers.
Already, there are signs of something exciting starting to take shape. But as the picture the company is painting grows clearer, the chance that others will spot the opportunity and push the share price higher increases.
And, with the price still affordable and more results to come, right now could be just the right moment for investing – before others spot the opportunity.
Author: Anna Farley
The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.
MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.
MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.
MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance