Rio Confirms What This Column Told Readers A Year Ago: It Has A Big Copper Find In WA

By Barry Fitzgerald | More Articles by Barry Fitzgerald

It’s been worth the wait to finally hear from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) as to what it is on to at its Winu (named after an old soak from an aboriginal word meaning thirsty) copper-gold-silver discovery in Western Australia’s Paterson province.

The thing is big, more than 1 billion tonnes containing 4mt of copper, 14m oz of gold and 80m oz of silver, according to the more-optimistic back-of-the-envelope assessments doing the rounds. And it is getting bigger too, with Rio stepping up its spending this year at the remote site.

The industry had been relying on the bush telegraph and satellite imagery since early last year to get a feel for the significance of the find, 130km north of its geological analogue, Newcrest’s (ASX:NCM) Telfer gold-copper mine.

But that all changed on Wednesday night when Rio’s clearly-delighted CEO, J-S Jacques, said that even at this early stage of the discovery, it is “absolutely clear there’s a lot of copper, a lot of gold, a lot of silver”.

He was talking after the release of first assay results from 14 diamond holes (and partial results from another two) in last year’s 20-hole diamond drilling program (drilling resumed in January with another four holes completed so far).

The results included very thick intersections of vein-style copper associated with gold and silver below relatively shallow cover (50 to 100m), with the mineralisation remaining open at depth and to the east, north and south.

The thickest intersection was a 741m hit from 68m grading 0.45% copper, 0.52g/t gold and 2.94g/t silver. The grade might not excite the average punter, but it is right up there with something like Newcrest’s Cadia gold/copper mine in NSW.

Plus, Chalice set for first results from drilling near rich Fosterville gold mine. Read more + 

Barry Fitzgerald

About Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald has covered the resources industry for 30 years. His column highlights the issues, opportunities and challenges for small and mid-cap resources stocks - most recently penned his column for The Australian newspaper and before that, The Age.

View more articles by Barry Fitzgerald →