Gold explorer Middle Island Resources Limited has been allocated licences over 1363 square kilometres in the Barkly area east of Tennant Creek.
The Perth-based company won between 19-95 per cent of four competing exploration licence applications within the newly available IOCG-prospective former Barkly moratorium area of the NT.
Tennant Creek was the site of Australia's last gold rush during the 1930s, and at that time was the third-largest gold producer in the country.
A further six Middle Island exploration licence applications, covering an additional 1890 square kilometres (including two within the northern part of the former moratorium area) had already been accepted in full.
The latest Barkly super-project allocations to Middle Island comprise:
- ELA32297 - 35 of 186 blocks allocated (19%), representing 110.92km2
- ELA32298 - 137 of 228 blocks allocated (60%), representing 443.37km2
- ELA32301 - 230 of 242 blocks allocated (95%), representing 740.70km2
- ELA32304 - 21 of 73 blocks allocated (29%), representing 67.80km2
The four competitive applications were lodged by Middle Island following the lifting of a moratorium over the higher priority Barkly area of the Territory's East Tennant province.
They were the subject of partially or wholly competing applications made by several companies, including Newcrest Mining, the outcome of which was adjudicated on the basis of various application criteria.
In some instances, portions allocated to the company include priority targets and corridors identified by Middle Island from the research data, while in other instances the allocated areas are peripheral to priority targets.
Importantly, however, the allocated areas include or immediately adjoin several individual blocks reserved for highly anticipated government basement stratigraphic drilling, planned to be undertaken during 2020 as part of the pre-competitive research program.
Five of Middle Island's applications in the Barkly area (32297, 32298, 32301, 32308 & 32309) also surround or adjoin Newcrest Mining applications along the axis of the East Tennant Ridge.
Collectively, Middle Island's Barkly super-project now comprises 10 exploration licence applications covering 3253 square kilometres.
This strategy positions the company as a first-mover within the newly identified East Tennant province, extending beneath Georgina Basin cover across the Barkly Tableland.
The broader Tennant Creek footprint already hosts high grade gold and copper-gold deposits and mines.
Middle Island work will focus on capturing any outstanding open file and pre-competitive data, the modelling of exploration targets and the planning of high-resolution geophysical surveys to refine modelled targets in preparation for drill testing.
Middle Island managing director, Rick Yeates said the company was pleased with the outcome of what appears to have been a very equitable process involving the allocation of various competing exploration licence applications within the now former Barkly moratorium area.
"Middle Island has secured priority areas and targets in several cases, and the allocated areas also include or immediately adjoin three sites planned for much anticipated government stratigraphic basement drilling during 2020."
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