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AusQuest drops exploration plans at Blue Billy, Jimberlana projects; shares down

AusQuest Ltd. decided it will not progress with the Western Australia-based Blue Billy zinc and Jimberlana nickel projects into 2019 under its strategic alliance with South32 Ltd.

The drill testing of targets at both prospects did not yield sufficient results to justify ongoing exploration, AusQuest said Jan. 2.

At Blue Billy, wide-spaced reverse circulation drilling intersected thick black mudrocks in all 13 drill holes but failed to provide significant improvement in zinc grade and/or thickness when compared with results from the initial diamond drilling program.

The company completed two diamond drill-holes at Jimberlana to test electromagnetic targets within the Jimberlana dyke, which intersected gabbroic rocks in one hole and pyroxenitic rocks in the other, but failed to intersect massive sulfide mineralization.

AusQuest Managing Director Graeme Drew said while the Blue Billy and Jimberlana drill results were disappointing, the results from other areas, particularly in Peru, have been encouraging. Further drilling of these prospects and several new drilling opportunities would be part of the company's 2019 program, the executive added.

AusQuest's share price has plunged 21.05% on the ASX on Jan. 2.