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Bryah Resources eyes Tumblegum South sale to help fund copper-gold drive

SNL Image
Bryah Resources' Tumblegum South prospect in Western Australia.
Source: Bryan Resources Ltd.

Bryah Resources Ltd. is looking to sell its Tumblegum South gold-copper prospect in Western Australia to nearby mill owners, potentially including Westgold Resources Ltd. or Monument Mining Ltd., among others, now that it has a maiden mineral resource estimate.

Bryah said Jan. 29 that it had identified multiple mineralized zones at Tumblegum South, including five lodes used in estimating an inferred mineral resource of 600,000 tonnes at 2.2 g/t gold for 42,500 ounces of gold, based on 49 reverse circulation drill holes for 5,640 meters.

Although there is significant potential to extend that mineral resource and test further mineralized zones with targeted drilling, Bryah is proceeding with a mining lease application and will submit a number of samples to a laboratory for cyanide leaching test work.

Bryah Managing Director Neil Marston said given the prospect's overall grade and tonnage for a maiden resource and the buoyant gold price outlook, it could profitably support open pit mining and trucking to an off-site processing plant.

He said in an interview that Monument would be a natural buyer, as it is looking to restart its Burnakura gold project, as well as Westgold, with its Bluebird plant processing Central Murchison gold project ore near Meekatharra. Both will be approached, among others.

"I don't see it as any shortage of interest with gold plays at the moment, with a number of satellite deposits being sold to players with existing plants in 2019, and we think with the current gold environment this is an opportunity for us to do something similar," Marston said.

Horizon Gold Ltd.'s 600,000-tonne-per-annum Gum Creek plant is about 80 kilometers away — albeit in need of significant capital for refurbishment as is Westgold's 1.2 Mtpa to 1.4 Mtpa Tuckabianna plant within its Murchison property, and Silver Lake Resources Ltd.'s Andy Well plant.

Marston said there is plenty of upside for any potential acquirer, given Bryah has only drill tested down to around 100 meters' vertical depth. During this testing, some high-grade intervals have been seen at the lower levels, indicating potential to extend the mineralized horizons with further drilling.

The proceeds will help progress its Bryah Basin project, where Bryah will drill the highly prospective Windalah copper-gold target in the current half, as part of its drive to find another DeGrussa-style deposit like Sandfire Resources Ltd. discovered in 2009.

Manganese work

Another potential earner for Bryah is its Bryah Basin manganese project, which OM Holdings Ltd. farmed into in April 2019, forming a joint venture agreement in which it currently has a 10% stake but could earn up to 70% of the manganese rights.

Marston said OM Holdings has a "fairly aggressive" exploration program planned for 2020, with manganese prices starting to pick up after falling considerably in 2019.

On Jan. 29, OM Holdings said detailed geological mapping focusing on the historic Horseshoe South and Horseshoe North mines was done in 2019, plus a high-resolution aerial survey over most of the joint venture tenement package.

The joint venture has engaged digital mapping company NGIS Australia Pty Ltd. to undertake a "proof of concept" trial for pattern recognition using Google artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to map outcropping manganese signatures within the area.

A heritage survey over several locations including the Black Beauty, Cheval and Mount Labouchere prospects was also done in the fourth quarter of 2019 ahead of first-pass RC drilling and geophysical surveys set for the first half of 2020, by the end of which the proof of concept trial should also be completed.

Yet Marston said the manganese is unlikely to turn Bryah into a A$1 billion company. Instead, he sees copper-gold as being Bryah's flagship, as "the prize is greater."

"If we can find another Horseshoe Lights or DeGrussa-type ore body, which is what the area is known for, then that's a huge market capitalization target," he said.