The Maroochydore Copper Project (Maroochydore) is located approximately 85 kilometres to the south-east of the Nifty Copper Operations in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The Maroochydore comprises a large oxide and supergene copper deposit originally discovered in 1984. Drilling to date has defined significant mineral resources including 486,000 tonnes of copper and 18,500 tonnes of cobalt.
In addition to the oxide resource, copper sulphide mineralisation has been identified at depth in historic drilling. However, the area is sparsely drilled and inadequately defined, with primary copper mineralisation remaining open along-strike and down-dip.
1984: Initial discovery by Esso Australia Ltd.
1986-1991: Ongoing exploration under various Joint ventures including City Resources Ltd, Chevron Exploration Ltd and Barrack Mines Ltd.
1991-1996: Project acquired by Mount Isa Mines and Omega Mines Ltd with further exploration undertaken by the joint venture.
1996-2003: Project acquired by Straits Resources Ltd and Murchison United Ltd with extensive metallurgical and mining studies undertaken.
2003-2009: Aditya Birla Minerals Limited acquires Straits Resources (as part of the acquisition of Nifty) with the JV with Murchison United Ltd continuing.
2010: Aditya Birla Minerals Limited acquires Murchison United Ltd’s project equity and takes 100% control of the project.
2010-2016: Ongoing mining studies and an exploration focus on sulphide resources.
2016: Metals X acquires Maroochydore through takeover of Aditya Birla Minerals Limited.
Maroochydore is hosted within the ~850 to 824 Ma Yeneena Supergroup of the >24,000 km2 Neoproterozoic Yeneena Basin, which in turn comprises part of the Paterson Orogen. The Yeneena Supergroup is subdivided into the Throssell Range and succeeding Lamil Groups. The Throssell Range Group is composed of the Coolbro and overlying Broadhurst Formations with the latter hosting both the Maroochydore and Nifty deposits.
The Broadhurst Formation is approximately 2 to 3 km thick and represents sag phase deposition. It is composed of two, dominantly carbonaceous, shale to pelitic schist units, separated by up to 500 metres of argillaceous, turbiditic, greywacke and sandstone. Both shale-dominated sections include beds containing up to 10% pyrite and pyrrhotite. A few <100 metre thick interbeds of limestone and dolostone are associated with the carbonaceous shale members.
The Maroochydore deposit is entirely masked by 10 to 110 metres of glacial sediments of the Permian Paterson Formation. Beneath this, mineralisation is hosted by an up to 75 metre thick unit comprising two carbonaceous shale members, each of which is 25 to 40 metres thick, and which are separated by a 15-20 metre wide dolomite marker unit. The footwall sequence is composed of interbedded pyrrhotitic carbonaceous shale and chloritic mudstone.
Hypogene copper mineralisation occurs in two main forms. The first is fine-grained and associated with framboidal pyrite, which it rims and replaces, within the two carbonaceous shale units. The second is coarse-grained, within zoned dolomitic veins. Hypogene mineralisation comprises pyrite, pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite, with traces of sphalerite and galena.
While the hypogene mineralisation is the subject of ongoing exploration, Maroochydore currently comprises a zone of supergene enriched sulphides and oxides within a JORC compliant Mineral Resource of 48.63 million tonnes at 1.0% Cu and 0.038% Co. Mineralisation occurs as a number of bodies immediately below the unconformity with the Paterson Formation, the largest of which forms a NW-SE elongated, >3 km by 200 to 600 metre wide ribbon. Supergene mineralisation comprises covellite, cuprite, malachite, azurite, native copper, chalcocite and minor chrysocolla.
Metals X has completed a detailed study of historic exploration and metallurgical studies. Following this study, a further program of metallurgical testwork was completed to provide samples for ongoing mineralogical testwork for the design of alternative oxide processing flowsheets.
In addition to the metallurgy studies of the oxide deposit, drilling has been, and will continue to be, undertaken to further test sulphide targets with the objective of delineating additional sulphide resources.
Maroochydore has an exploration camp with diesel powered generators and road access to the Nifty Copper Operations.
WATCh THE NIFty MOVIEs
Nifty Open Pit Study - June 2020
The Nifty Copper Operation - July 2017