Lots of work, even more potential

Aston Bay (TSX.V: BAY, FSE: 6AY, WKN: A2AUFP), together with its Australian partner American West, who is the operational lead on the project, will soon commence a new drill program at the Somerset Island copper project Storm in Nunavut, Canada. The program will be designed to focus on aggressively increasing the resource and drilling for new discoveries.

The 2024 field season at the Storm project is scheduled to begin in March and will focus on defining new and expanding existing resources. Plans call for 22,000 meters of both diamond and reverse circulation drilling. American West will be solely responsible for funding this program.

Work on the first resource calculation on the Storm deposits according to the Canadian NI 43-101 standard is far advanced and Aston Bay expects it to be published in March or April. In addition, the outstanding drill holes from the previous year, which included 48 meters of 3% copper on the Thunder zone, 30.4 meters of 2.2% copper on Lightning Ridge and 1.5 meters of 4.4% copper on The Gap, are starting points for the potential definition of further resources.

Exploration is to be pursued primarily in the direction of strike

Exploration for new high-grade copper zones along strike and below the existing copper discoveries is planned to continue this year. Unexplored or under-explored zones are abundant as the copper belt extends over a length of more than 100 kilometers and includes the Blizzard, Tornado and Tempest properties.

High-resolution electromagnetic surface surveys are planned for the Blizzard, Tornado and Tempest areas, which have been little explored to date. The environmental, mining and metallurgical studies required for the approval of the Storm project are also being continued and are already in progress.

With its open zones, the copper mineralization identified to date at Storm offers exceptional potential. In front of the geologists of American West and Aston Bay Holdings lies a 100 kilometer long, largely untested copper belt. It offers significant potential to progressively increase and upgrade the quality of the resource.

The mineralized zones are to be significantly expanded

In addition to the potential expansion of the Cyclone zone suggested by the conductivity anomaly at Cyclone North, three immediate opportunities have been defined for the expansion and addition of new zones of mineralization at Storm. These include the Thunder and Lightning Ridge, Cyclone North and The Gap properties.

All of these deposits contain high-grade copper mineralization, as impressively demonstrated by drill hole ST23-03 at Thunder with 3.0% copper over 48.6. The broad zones were characterized by late-stage EM conductivity and localized, highly conductive bull’s-eye style EM anomalies.

A reinterpretation of the induction polarization data helps to separate the wheat from the chaff

The EM anomalies tested to date in the Storm area show a strong correlation with higher grade mineralization with greater than 2.0% copper. A recent review and reinterpretation of historical induced polarization (IP) data has also returned interesting results and defined numerous targets for potential discovery of additional copper mineralization.

IP is an effective geophysical method for the detection of net-textured and vein-bearing sulphides. The IP data was re-evaluated using a metal factor algorithm that filters the raw resistivity and conductivity data to define areas likely to contain metal sulphides, including copper sulphides, as opposed to other potential IP sources such as clay or iron oxides.

Of particular interest for this year’s exploration is a newly defined anomaly located immediately south of the Cyclone Zone on the other side of the Graben Fault. The anomaly is interpreted to be Cyclone at a deeper stratigraphic level at around 100-200 metres depth and covers an area approximately the same size as the known Cyclone mineralization. No holes have been drilled here to date, suggesting that it may be a southern, offset extension of the Cyclone copper mineralization.

Lots of work, even more potential

Recent exploration and resource definition activities indicate that Storm and the new copper discoveries are only a small part of a larger sediment-hosted copper mineralization system.

High-grade copper sulphide mineralization was found at a stratigraphic level 200 m below the known copper deposits and at numerous other locations along the 100 km strike of the potential copper belt. It is significant that the same high-grade chalcocite-bornite-chalcopyrite copper mineralization is present in the new, deeper discoveries as in the extensive near-surface mineralization.

Exploration activities in 2024 will therefore aim to increase the extent of recognized mineralization and extend detailed geophysical surveys to these underexplored areas. Given the size of the project and the fact that many zones are still completely unexplored, Aston Bay Holdings and American West have ample opportunity to once again report outstanding exploration successes in 2024.

Shipping of high-grade copper concentrate as a start-up option

With the extremely effective tool of gravity surveys, further drill targets can be determined very effectively. In addition, it was possible to provide evidence that deeper mineralization is present beneath the near-surface mineralization. And the spring and summer drill program of 2023 succeeded in significantly expanding the near-surface mineralization in the four known zones, as well as discovering two new zones (e.g., 76m of 2% copper at the Thunder Zone). At greater depth, sediment-bound copper offers another exploration target that will be addressed more aggressively in the future.

An initial resource estimate is expected by the end of 2023. And an initial scoping study is also eagerly awaited by the end of December. This is expected to provide more reliable information on the plan to commence mining operations with the production and shipment of a copper concentrate grading up to 53.9 percent copper. The conditions for this plan are in place, because although the Storm project is located far to the north of Canada, the infrastructure is very well developed and access to a deep-sea port is available.

Copper, zinc and gold in Virginia

In the US state of Virginia, Ashton Bay is represented with two projects. Southwest of Charlottesville is the Buckingham Gold Project. South of this near Lynchburg is the copper-zinc SEDEX Belt. At the Buckingham Gold Project, soil samples show gold grades up to 701 g/t. The partially visible gold is contained in white quartz.

Drilling conducted in 2019 and 2020 confirms the presence of high-grade gold mineralization with grades of 35.61 g/t over 3.03 metres, 20.44 g/t over 2.30 metres and 24.73 g/t over 3.57 metres. On strike, the deposit remains open and Ashton Bay Holdings continues to have the opportunity to significantly expand the deposit both on strike and to depth, as only 200 of 1,600 meters have been drilled to date. In addition, drilling has so far only tested depths of up to 90 meters, so there is still further potential at depth.

South central Virginia is crossed by the SEDEX Belt, which is over 100 kilometers long. Its mineralization is rich in zinc and copper. It is therefore an important source of copper and zinc from the United States. The project is still largely unexplored, but has been prepared to the point where drilling can begin shortly. The few historical drill holes that have been completed on the Belt show more than two percent copper over 8.4 meters, more than five percent zinc over 2.2 meters and up to 0.24 percent cobalt.

A typical made-in-America story

There seem to be many good reasons to invest in Aston Bay and its projects. While for European investors the quality and size of the projects and their enormous, as yet largely untapped potential are likely to be of primary importance, US investors are also attracted by the Made-in-America idea.

More than in resource-poor Germany, people in the United States and Canada worry about dependencies on foreign countries, especially when it comes to critical metals and raw materials. North American investors are very comfortable with the idea of mining in North America, which offers domestic industry a significant cost advantage due to geographical proximity and also reduces dependencies on uncertain suppliers such as China. In Canada and the U.S., Aston Bay can therefore also score with the undeniable advantages of self-sufficiency and security of supply. The stock already had a good run in the middle of the year – now the question is whether this can be repeated in the same or a similar way. We are eagerly awaiting the upcoming news and will of course keep our readers up to date on how this extremely exciting, but also highly risky, company will progress.

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The acquisition of securities involves high risks, which can lead to a total loss of the invested capital. The information published by GOLDINVEST Consulting GmbH and its authors is based on careful research, however, any liability for financial loss or the content guarantee for timeliness, accuracy, adequacy and completeness of the articles offered here is expressly excluded. Please also note our terms of use.

Pursuant to §34b WpHG and §48f Abs. 5 BörseG (Austria) we would like to point out that GOLDINVEST Consulting GmbH and/or partners, principals or employees of GOLDINVEST Consulting GmbH hold shares of Aston Bay Holdings and therefore a conflict of interest exists. GOLDINVEST Consulting GmbH also reserves the right to buy or sell shares of the company at any time. Furthermore, GOLDINVEST Consulting GmbH is remunerated by Aston Bay Holdings for reporting on the company. This is another clear conflict of interest.

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