Shares in Thor Mining (LSE:THR) were trading up by 10.7pc at 0.27p on Wednesday following a strong update covering its entire portfolio.

In its release, the firm said it has now completed a 19-hole second drill programme at its Bonya project in Australia with ‘very encouraging’ preliminary XRF results expected to precede the receipt of assays next month. Work on a maiden mineral resource estimate for the first Bonya deposits will then begin, with completion expected to complete during January next year. The resource is expected to add significant value to the nearby Molyhil project through an improved production profile and increased mine life. An updated mineral resource estimate was announced at Molyhil – which is 100pc owned by Thor – last month, increasing tungsten and molybdenum resources by 1.5% and 9.3% respectively.  

Elsewhere, Thor said it had begun discussions with several US investors to advance its Pilot Mountain project. Meanwhile, the organisation is planning the next stage of work at its Pilbara Gold asset following the discovery of visible gold earlier this month. This is likely to be infill work and upstream sampling with a view of establishing drill targets.

Finally, Thor said that it is reviewing all options relating to its royalty investment in the Spring Hill gold project, and said its board has reduced director remuneration and deferred non-essential project expenditure to reduce costs.

Thor’s executive chairman Mick Billing said: ‘We continue to advance exploration activities at the Bonya joint venture to enhance the value of the Molyhil project.  Drill results have so far been very pleasing with higher than expected grades at White Violet. We look forward to our initial resource estimate at Bonya scheduled for January 2020.  Our objective of increasing the resource inventory available for the proposed Molyhil processing plant will, we believe, significantly enhance the prospects for funding the Molyhil development.

‘Our copper investment, and our recent early stage success with Pilbara gold exploration are very exciting and we plan to build upon these while keeping outlays to a minimum.  The Australian government grant funding for Kapunda for example, ensures ongoing development at this project, without requiring significant funding from Thor.

‘We have now implemented cost saving initiatives, including significant reductions in director remuneration and deferral of non-essential project expenditure which will conserve cash resources as we progress discussions with potential investors for Molyhil and Pilot Mountain. We have also taken steps towards monetising several of our non-core assets, and will report on each of these as progress is made. Our core assets, however, still hold significant value, and we firmly believe that these will, in due course, deliver substantial returns for our shareholders".

Earlier this week, Thor revealed positive drilling results at its part-owned Kapunda in-situ recovery (ISR) copper project in South Australia. Three holes were drilled, and two screened wells installed, to complete initial hydrogeological investigations at the asset – in which EnviroCopper has entered a two-stage agreement to earn a 75pc stake. Thor, in turn, holds a 25pc interest in EnviroCopper with rights to increase that stake to 30pc.

Not only did this work reveal that the project’s water table is quite shallow, but it also confirmed connectivity between screened intervals along with its predominant fracture directions. These are both critical requirements for the ISR process, which centres around a chemical process called ‘leaching’. In layman’s terms, this involves dissolving minerals underground in a solution before extracting them at the surface. As ISR is much cheaper and quicker than actually building a copper mine, EnviroCopper believes that the technique can bring lower-grade projects into economic territory.

Elsewhere, Thor said the first round of drilling at Kapunda had revealed that the fracture zone contains significant copper mineralisation thought to be amenable to the ISR process. Indeed, the pilot hole encountered 66m at 0.27pc copper including 5m at 0.72pc copper and 11m at 0.54pc copper. Meanwhile, the two additional holes intersected 8m, 23m at 0.49pc copper to end of hole and 22m, 6m at 0.47pc copper to end of hole respectively.

EnviroCopper’s next stage of work includes large-scale column leach recovery tests leading on to a full-scale field trial.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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