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The discovery of the QTS Central ore system, CSA mine, Cobar, NSW, Australia

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Author E Apaza and R Neumayr

Description

This paper aims to summarise the discovery of the QTS Central resource, a previously unidentified +1 Mt inferred resource that lies between two major CSA resource systems.

The 1.7 Mt at 5.76 per cent Cu, QTS Central ore system represents 1/6th of the CSA mineral resource and was discovered in 2014 based on the accumulation of historic exploration records dating back to 1989.

The CSA deposit consists of five ore systems hosted within turbidite-derived siltstones (CSA Siltstone) and lesser sandstones (five per cent) of the Devonian Amphitheatre Group. The host sediments strike approximately north–south with a steep westerly dip and exhibit a well-developed east dipping cleavage. Most CSA mineralisation is hosted within dilation zones at the intersection of cross-cutting structures and is interpreted as epigenetic in origin.

Alteration and weak mineralisation, up plunge to the reported QTS Central mineral resource, was initially detected in 1990 during a downhole electromagnetic conductivity (EM) study, where one hole indicated an off-hole conductor, later tested with four diamond holes. One of these diamond holes intersected 3 m at 7.5 per cent Cu at 200 m. Development of the 9070 Subway drive in 2005/2006, linked the QTS North and QTS South workings and intersected structures interpreted to host QTS Central mineralisation. Subsequent drilling proximal to the 9070 Subway in 2007 identified an up plunge extension to the QTS Central zone (UDD07152: 1.8 m at 6.3 per cent Cu from 10.7 m). Work on QTS Central was largely forgotten until 2012 when the mining of a 450 m infrastructure drive provided a platform to test the anomalous grades. In December 2013, drill hole UDD13055A intersected 20.9 m at 7.2 per cent Cu from 378 m. By the end of 2014, the QTS Central inferred resource was 1.0 Mt at 6 per cent Cu and 18 g/t Ag (Hosken and Apaza, 2014). Late in 2016, further infill drilling occurred from two fronts to increase confidence in the QTS Central resource. The results of this drilling are expected late in 2017.

The current interpretation indicates the QTS Central system consists of two main lenses hosted within closely bedded sandstones and siltstones. The sandstone in general is not mineralised, being heavily silicified, while the siltstone is mineralised and chloritised. The main mineralised lens is 75–200 m along strike and 450 m high. Massive sulfide feeder structures lie at the core of the two main lenses, although the characteristics of the QTS Central system tend toward the mineralisation being more chlorite-rich than in QTS North and QTS South.

CITATION:

Apaza, E and Neumayr, R, 2017. The discovery of the QTS Central ore system, CSA mine, Cobar, NSW, Australia, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 151–156 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).