Western Metallica Resources Corp, a Canadian headquartered mineral exploration company with gold and copper projects across Spain, has advanced on its highly prospective Nueva Celti Copper Project, a past producing copper (Cu) mine, following success on the initial drill hole.
Western Metallica Resources Corp. (TSXV: WMS) focuses on the discovery and development of base and precious metals in highly prospective regions, making it an attractive investment opportunity for those looking to gain exposure to the mining sector. Well capitalised with over C$4m to advance its near-term plans, Western Metallica’s current drill programme on its priority copper project in Southern Spain, Nueva Celti, aims to validate historic high-grade results and holds the potential to become a predominant copper resource and future operating mine.
Nueva Celti is one of four assets in Western Metallica’s portfolio. The company has 100% ownership of two gold projects in Asturias; Penedela, and Valledor, and one copper mine located in Andalusia; Nueva Celti, along with Sierra Alta located in Asturias which is under a joint venture whereby the company owns 55% and is the operator.
Two-phased diamond drilling programme at Nueva Celti
Western Metallica recently initiated a two-phased 3,000m diamond drilling programme at Nueva Celti, the company’s copper mine. Drilling is estimated to reach 1,200m in Phase 1 and 1,800m in Phase 2, aimed at validating the historical grades and confirming the geology interpreted from the compiled historical information of ‘Asturiana de Zinc’, Glencore (refer to press release dated April 17, 2023).
The drill programme will target below the mineralised bodies and historical mine levels to demonstrate the continuity of mineralisation at depths of ~400m and ~400m on strike. The Nueva Celti project is notable due to its location adjacent to the Iberian Pyrite Belt, Southwestern Spain, a region known for its considerable mineral deposits, including some of the largest copper and zinc mines in Europe. In addition to the copper resources, the Nueva Celti project has significant potential for zinc and lead resources.
Between 1902 and 1918, historical production grades were reported over 5% Cu (which has yet to be independently validated by Western Metallica) plus other metals such as silver. Nueva Celti is strategically located near ﬁrst-class infrastructure, including the Sevilla Industrial Port and Airport (~70 km in distance). Initial drill results position this 1,250-hectare property as the company’s most strategic and priority exploration project, estimated to exceed a 250,000-tonne copper equivalent potential.
Nueva Celti’s vast amount of regional and historical data, as well as past production, reported at commercial grades up to 5% copper, with infrastructure on and adjacent to the property, makes it a prime long-term project and key asset with the potential to develop into a significant base metal resource for the company.
Nueva Celti drill programme confirmed presence of ore bodies
Following the commencement of the Nueva Celti drill programme in early 2023, results from the first hole, NCDD001, have confirmed the presence of the ore bodies reported by ‘Asturiana de Zinc’, Glencore. Further to this, Western Metallica intersected other mineralised zones with total widths and grades comparable to historical results, including a notable 2.6% Cu across 4.55m (from 191.95-196.95m), 1.8% Cu across 4.87m (from 165.55-170.42m), and 1.9% Cu across 1.56m (from 149.97m to 151.53m), all with additional credits of Ag, Au, An and Pb.
In addition, management has filed an application for the Retortillo investigation permit, representative of an additional 5,100 hectares surrounding the Nueva Celti claims, in the process of being secured to the east of the known mineralisation, extending the company’s key flagship projects exploration and production potential.
Discovering new deposits in Southern Spain
From a regional perspective, Southern Spain has a rich mining history, home to numerous deposits of copper and gold, and a long history of mineral exploitation dating back to the Roman era. However, recent exploration activities have revealed that there is still considerable potential for discovering new gold and copper mines in the area. One of the most promising areas for exploration is the Iberian Pyrite Belt, a geological formation that extends from southern Portugal to southern Spain. The belt hosts significant copper deposits, including the Rio Tinto mine.
The region of Andalusia, in southern Spain, is the largest producer of copper in the European Union (EU), with the province of Huelva being the main mining area and home to the Rio Tinto mine – one of the oldest and largest copper mines in the world. Furthermore, the largest copper mine in the area is the Las Cruces mine, located in the province of Seville, in operation since 2009, and is one of the most productive copper mines in Spain, located approximately 70km from Western Metallica’s key copper asset in Andalusia.
Despite the long history of copper mining in the area, there is still untapped potential for new discoveries. The geological structure of the region is highly conducive to the occurrence of copper deposits, an area characterised by a complex network of faults, folds, and thrusts, which create favourable conditions for the formation of mineral deposits. In addition, the region is characterised by a wide variety of geological formations, including volcanic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks, which provide a diverse range of potential deposit types.
The company’s exploration strategy is an all-encompassing one, which considers the initial assessment of all the assets held in the portfolio, and therefore drill programmes have been conducted during 2022 and into early 2023 on other properties.
Five-hole diamond drilling programme at Sierra Alta
Western Metallica anticipates launching a first stage, 1,000m, five-hole, diamond drilling programme in Q1-2023 at Sierra Alta, a 2,500-hectare property in Asturias, with significant gold potential. The company expects initial channel sampling results conducted across a 4km strike length testing the Montefurado-La Freita trend. This formed part of a targeted drill programme aimed to validate historical work and specifically intended to validate a jasperoidal breccia that previously returned encouraging results. Initial findings would be indicative of a larger programme that would be pursued into Q2-Q3 2023, positioning Sierra Alta as a second priority project in the company’s portfolio.
Western Metallica finalised an exploration programme at its 100% owned Penedela Project at the end of 2022. This exploration programme included over 1,400m of drilling, which targeted the most prospective areas of the Penedela gold deposit identified to date, a property comprised of approximately 2,500 hectares. This programme follows the successful acquisition of the Penedela property, permitting and NI 43-101 Technical Report in recent months.
The recently completed drill programme at the Penedela Project underwent a cumulative total of 2,236m drilled across 12 holes from 2020-2022 to a maximum depth of 335.6m, with the Penedela zone drilled approximately 130m vertically from the surface and a total of ~500m on-strike. Among the four main targets initially defined at Penedela, the drilling programme has confirmed the presence of one main structural corridor extending north with the mineralisation, aligned along an NS trending sinistral strike-slip shear zone and typically coinciding with the dilatation jogs along the main structure. The width of the main Penedela zone remains to be defined.
Penedela continues to be a project of importance for the company, being positioned in the prolific Iberian Peninsula, formed by multiple gold mineralising events and hosting two of the largest currently known deposits in the area.
The impressive portfolio of precious and base metal projects under Western Metallica well positions the company to unlock value across its four projects in Spain during 2023. With the company operating within a friendly jurisdiction and with diversified projects greatly reducing exploration risk, combined with a negative enterprise value, the impression is that the market has not yet recognised value for what is believed to be a portfolio of highly prospective assets.
Please note, this article will also appear in the fourteenth edition of our quarterly publication.