PolarX eyes Alaskan elephant

26th July 2018
Resources Rising Stars

Alaska is bear country, but UK-born geologist Frazer Tabeart is hoping it’s also elephant country for his gold-copper play PolarX (reports Stuart McKinnon at The West Australian).

The company formed in July last year as a merger of ASX-listed Coventry Resources and the privately owned Vista Minerals.

The deal brought together two contiguous land packages spanning 35km and covering an area of 240sqkm in central Alaska.

Both properties have existing JORC-compliant resources based on historic shallow drilling and together form the company’s Alaska Range project.

But recent exploration by the company at its Zackly deposit revealing visual copper and gold mineralisation is hinting at something much bigger underneath.

PolarX believes the visual course-grain gold and the copper oxide mineralisation seen in recent drill core samples are characteristic of a porphyry system. Porphyries are igneous rocks formed by a two-stage cooling of rising magma and often host big mineralised systems of copper and gold.

Mr Tabeart — a 16-year veteran of WMC Resources with strong technical background in porphyry gold systems across Asia, America and the Pacific — says the mineralisation style at Zackly is known as a skarn, which is typically associated with much bigger porphyry copper-gold deposits.

“The copper-gold geochemistry and the magnetic signatures at Zackly show all of the smoke you would expect to see in a porphyry,” he said.

Porphyry deposits form in volcanic belts such as the Pacific Ring of Fire and are typically low grade but very big.

The company’s Alaska Range project lies on a major break between the Tintina Gold Belt to the north and the Cretaceous Porphyry Copper Belt, which hosts the 11 billion tonne Pebble porphyry copper deposit to the west.

PolarX plans to continue drilling at Zackly while the mild northern summer weather permits in a bid to double or even triple the existing resource which stands at 3.4 million tonnes at 1.2 per cent copper and 2 grams per tonne gold.

Alaska Range also includes the Caribou Dome deposit to the south west of Zackly, which hosts a resource of 2.8Mt at 3.1 per cent copper.

Assays from PolarX’s 500m, 23-hole drilling program, which is already well under way, are expected soon.

The company hopes the results will underpin a significant resources upgrade later in the year ahead of feasibility studies on combined or standalone operations at the two deposits.

Mr Talbert said Alaska Range lay exclusively on state mining claims, which should make permitting easier than if it was on private land.

The project is only 100 km away from a main power line and railway.

Exploration is restricted to six months of the year, but Mr Talbeart says underground mining could continue all year round.

Polar X is tightly held with the top 20 shareholders- which include project vendors, management and directors – holding 70 per cent of the company’s issued capital.

Shares in the company have traded in a range of 8c to 19.5c since listing and closed yesterday at 11c for a market capitalisation of about $33 million.

Although Alaska may seem like a far flung part of the world for a WA-based explorer, it has also attached the likes of Allan Kelly’s new gold listing Riversgold and mining major South 32, which has invested in Canada’s Trilogy Metlas – a copper explorer in the states Ambler Mining District.

Sandfire Resources has also taken a interest in the most northern US state, at this month picking up a small stake in White Rock Minerals, which owns the Red Mountain zinc project.

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