Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (TSXV: BAY) (OTCQB: ATBHF) ("Aston Bay" or the "Company”) reports an update on drilling and geophysical activities at the Storm Copper Project (“Storm” or the “Project”) on Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada. This is the second drilling program for American West Metals Limited (“American West”), who are the project operator, since entering an option agreement with Aston Bay in March 2021.
The Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling program is continuing at the 4100N Zone, with a focus on defining a maiden copper resource for the near-surface copper mineralization within the Storm Project. The Moving Loop Electromagnetic (MLEM) survey will be completed shortly at the 4100N Zone, with several new conductors identified and being assessed for drilling. The MLEM survey will then commence at the Tempest Prospect, an underexplored copper prospect approximately 40km south of Storm. The ground gravity survey has been completed with final processing of data underway, with diamond drilling scheduled to test the deeper sedimentary-hosted copper system.
Visual estimates of mineral abundance should never be considered a proxy or substitute for laboratory analyses where concentrations or grades are the factor of principal economic interest. Laboratory assays are required to determine the presence and grade of any contained mineralization within the reported visual intersections of copper sulfides. Portable XRF is used as an aid in the determination of mineral type and abundance during the geological logging process.
“This is impressive progress by our partner American West Metals in this ambitious exploration program,” stated Thomas Ullrich, CEO of Aston Bay.
“Drilling is progressing quickly with all drill holes intersecting significant lengths of copper sulfide mineralization as noted in the visual logs. The conductive anomaly at the 4100N Zone is proving to be an excellent predictor of sulfide mineralization. We look forward to the continued drilling that will further test this conductor, as well as additional results from the ongoing geophysical program at the 4100N Zone and at the untested Tempest Prospect to the south.”
Figure 1: RC samples being analyzed with portable XRF and prepared for shipment to the laboratory, Storm Copper Project.
RESOURCE POTENTIAL GROWS WITH DRILLING SUCCESS
Five additional drill holes have been completed at the 4100N Zone and continue to highlight the significant resource potential of the near-surface mineralization at Storm. All nine drill holes completed to date within the current program have intersected thick intervals of visual sulfides, which have been confirmed to contain copper based on portable XRF analysis.
The mineralized footprint at the 4100N Zone has been shown by historical drilling to extend over an area of approximately 32 hectares. We believe there is an outstanding opportunity to define a significant near-surface resource base that could support an initial low-cost, open-pit mining operation.
DRILL HOLE DETAILS
The latest drill holes (SR23-05, SR23-06, SR23-07, SR23-08 and SR23-09) have continued to intersect thick intervals of copper sulfide mineralization, hosted within dolomite of the Allen Bay Formation.
The mineralization is similar in its appearance to the first four drill holes completed in the current program and is comprised of zones of strong sulfides hosted within a broad mineralized package of what is interpreted to be mostly vein and fracture-style mineralization. The mineralized horizons continue to be relatively flat-lying and laterally extensive in nature.
The dominant copper sulfide minerals observed within the drill holes to date are chalcocite, with chalcopyrite and bornite also present. Minor native copper and copper oxides (mostly malachite and cuprite) are also present.
Chalcocite is an important ore mineral due to its high grades (up to 79.8% copper) and outstanding metallurgical properties.
The Allen Bay host unit is present throughout the Storm Project area and is comprised of massive to thinly bedded dolomicrites.
Figure 2: Plan view of the 4100N Zone showing interpreted copper mineralization footprint (defined by drilling), historical and recent drilling, overlaying regional geology. Stated diamond drill hole intersections (red text boxes) are all core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 95% of core length. Stated RC dill hole intersections (blue text boxes) are close to true widths.
Figure 3: Geological section view at 464,900E showing the interpreted mineralization envelope (>1% Cu) and recent drill hole visual observations. Stated diamond drill hole intersections are core length, and expected to be near true width.
Intersections are expressed as downhole widths and are interpreted to be close to true widths. Visual estimates of sulfide type, quantity and habit should not be considered a substitute for laboratory assays. Portable XRF analysis has been used to confirm the nature of the sulfide intercepts. Laboratory assays are required to determine the widths and grade of mineralization as reported in preliminary geological logging.
Mineralization key: cc = chalcocite, chpy = chalcopyrite, br = bornite, py = pyrite, Cu = native copper, ct = cuprite, ml = malachite, sph = sphalerite, ga = galena. (5%) = visual estimation of sulfide content.
Figure 4: RC drilling chips from SR23-05 between approximately 41 – 50m (135 – 165ft) downhole. Chalcocite (copper sulfide) can be seen as dark gray chips and veinlets.
Figure 5: Geological section view at 464,800E showing the interpreted mineralization envelope (>1% Cu) and recent drill hole visual observations. Stated diamond drill hole intersections are core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 95% of core length.
Figure 6: RC drilling chips from SR23-07 between approximately 72 – 91m (235 – 300ft) downhole. Chalcocite (copper sulfide) can be seen as dark gray chips.
Figure 7: RC drilling chips from SR23-08 between approximately 70 – 81m (230 – 265ft) downhole. Chalcocite (copper sulfide) can be seen as dark gray chips.
Figure 8: Geological section view at 464,725E showing the interpreted mineralization envelope (>1% Cu) and recent drill hole visual observations. Stated diamond drill hole intersections are core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 95% of core length.
MOVING LOOP ELECTROMAGNETICS (MLEM)
Moving loop electromagnetics (MLEM) is almost completed at the 4100N Zone, which was planned to follow up on 11 shallow, high-priority EM conductors that were identified by the fixed loop electromagnetic (FLEM) survey completed by the Company during the 2021 field season.
A total of seven survey lines have been completed across the 4100N Zone.
Seven strong MLEM conductors have been identified to date, with processing of the data continuing. These anomalies may change based on further interpretation and modeling with the additional data, and details of the anomalies will be fully reported once modeling is complete.
The preliminary data shows a distinctive and strong conductive trend being highlighted within the 4100N Zone (Figure 9). Very high-grade copper sulfides have been encountered within drill holes that have intersected this conductive trend, including 2m (core length) @ 14% Cu from 52.4m in drill hole ST99-56.
Further drilling is being planned to delineate additional high-grade mineralization within this highly conductive zone.
Figure 9: Plan view of the 4100N Zone indicating the location of the preliminary 2023 MLEM conductors (red) modeled to date, overlaying MLEM image (CH18Z, hotter colours are higher conductivity, cooler colours are lower conductivity - eastern extent of data still being processed) and footprint of the mineralization defined by drilling. Stated diamond drill hole intersections are core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 95% of core length.
GROUND GRAVITY SURVEY
A high-resolution ground gravity survey has been completed over the Storm area, with 2,657 stations collected at 50m spaced intervals, along 150m spaced north-south orientated lines.
The survey is designed to identify deeper targets that may represent accumulations of dense copper sulfides associated with the emerging sediment hosted copper system. The recent discovery in drill hole ST22-10 (see September 28, 2022, Aston Bay news release) suggests that the known near-surface copper prospects at Storm may be related to a large, sediment hosted style copper system at depth.
Gravity data is being processed with a view to generating new drill targets. Diamond drilling is planned to follow up on targets and to test high-priority areas of the interpreted large sediment hosted copper system.
Figure 10: Plan view of the Storm Project area showing the completed ground gravity survey stations.
Drilling at the 4100N Zone will be followed by resource definition at the 2200N and 2750N Zone, where drilling during 2023 intersected high-grade copper sulfides close to surface including 41m (core length) @ 4.18% Cu from 38M (ST22-05) downhole.
The second batch of samples has been sent to the laboratory, with results expected within 5-8 weeks.
The MLEM program is set to commence at the Tempest Prospect. The Tempest Prospect is located approximately 40 kilometres south of the Storm deposits, and it contains a large (>250m long) copper gossan exposed at surface with assays up to 32% Cu. Its location and distance from Storm highlight the extensive nature of the prospective copper horizon within the Project area.
Diamond drilling will be used to test the high-priority exploration targets and is expected to commence after the completion of the resource drilling.
Sorting and beneficiation test work for a potential direct shipping product (DSP) operation is continuing with results to follow shortly.
About the Storm Copper and Seal Zinc-Silver Projects, Nunavut
The Nunavut property consists of 173 contiguous mining claims covering an area of approximately 219,257 hectares on Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada. The Storm Project comprises both the Storm Copper Project, a high-grade sediment hosted copper discovery (intersections including 110m* @ 2.45% Cu from surface and 56.3m* @ 3.07 Cu from 12.2m) as well as the Seal Zinc Deposit (intersections including 14.4m* @ 10.58% Zn, 28.7g/t Ag from 51.8m and 22.3m* @ 23% Zn, 5.1g/t Ag from 101.5m). Additionally, there are numerous underexplored targets within the 120-kilometre strike length of the mineralized trend, including the Tornado copper prospect where 10 grab samples yielded >1% Cu up to 32% Cu in gossans.
*Stated drill hole intersections are all core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 95% of core length.
Figure 11: Storm Copper Project, Location Map.
Michael Dufresne, M.Sc., P.Geol., P.Geo., is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release.
About Aston Bay Holdings
Aston Bay is a publicly traded mineral exploration company exploring for high-grade copper and gold deposits in Virginia, USA, and Nunavut, Canada. The Company is led by CEO Thomas Ullrich with exploration in Virginia directed by the Company's advisor, Don Taylor, the 2018 Thayer Lindsley Award winner for his discovery of the Taylor Pb-Zn-Ag Deposit in Arizona. The Company is currently exploring the high-grade Buckingham Gold Vein in central Virginia and is in advanced stages of negotiation on other lands with high-grade copper potential in the area.
The Company is 100% owner of the Storm Project property, which hosts the Storm Copper Project and the Seal Zinc Deposit and has been optioned to American West Metals Limited.
About American West Metals Limited
AMERICAN WEST METALS LIMITED (ASX: AW1) is an Australian clean energy mining company focused on growth through the discovery and development of major base metal mineral deposits in Tier 1 jurisdictions of North America. Our strategy is focused on developing mines that have a low-footprint and support the global energy transformation.
Our portfolio of copper and zinc projects in Utah and Canada include significant existing resource inventories and high-grade mineralization that can generate robust mining proposals. Core to our approach is our commitment to the ethical extraction and processing of minerals and making a meaningful contribution to the communities where our projects are located.
Led by a highly experienced leadership team, our strategic initiatives lay the foundation for a sustainable business which aims to deliver high-multiplier returns on shareholder investment and economic benefits to all stakeholders.
For further information on American West, visit: www.americanwestmetals.com.
Statements made in this news release, including those regarding the Option Agreement, grant of the Option and the expected closing date, American West’s interest in the Storm Project and its other acquisitions and plans, plans for the upcoming field season, management objectives, forecasts, estimates, expectations, or predictions of the future may constitute “forward-looking statement”, which can be identified by the use of conditional or future tenses or by the use of such verbs as “believe”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “project”, “plan”, and words of similar import, including variations thereof and negative forms. This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect, as of the date of this press release, Aston Bay’s expectations, estimates and projections about its operations, the mining industry and the economic environment in which it operates. Statements in this press release that are not supported by historical fact are forward-looking statements, meaning they involve risk, uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although Aston Bay believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which apply only at the time of writing of this press release. Aston Bay disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by securities legislation.
For more information contact:
Thomas Ullrich, Chief Executive Officer
Sofia Harquail, IR and Corporate Development