When Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) finally broke cover in February on its Winu copper-gold discovery in WA’s Paterson province, it made clear that drilling had yet to close off the mineralisation beneath the region’s sand dunes.
The February confirmation contained the first assay results from 14 diamond holes (and partial results from another two) in last year’s drilling program.
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.
All that was enough for mining types to estimate that Winu was indeed a big find – more than 1 billion tonnes containing 4mt of copper, 14Moz of gold and 80Moz of silver according to one back-of- the-envelope assessment based on an indicated strike length of 1.4km.
Rio itself did not make any resource estimate. Its chief executive, J-S Jacques, has nevertheless been as bullish as he can be.
He told a media call on the day that it was “early days and we have more work to do.”
“But the initial results from the first phase of the drilling are pretty encouraging. There is copper, there is gold, there is silver. And I am really looking forward to the second phase and for sure, we will keep you and the market updated.”
There has been no official update since, which is fair enough. But thanks to public domain satellite imagery, it can be said that drilling – and the preparation of drill pads – now extends for a strike length of 3.3km.
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