Mine district exploration
While total exploration expenditure showed a slight decrease from 2012, exploration maintained momentum under the three-tiered strategy of mine district exploration, new discovery programs and project generation, focusing on copper, zinc and nickel.
In general, 2013 saw a shift of focus from mine district exploration centred on MMG’s operating assets with increasing exploration maturity, to new discovery exploration targeting transformational discovery. With an increased project turnover rate through effective exploration, project generation is responsible for a high-quality project portfolio with high growth exposure.
Total exploration expenditure in 2013 was US$71.9 million, including US$35.2 million on mine district exploration, US$32.5 million on new discovery programs and US$4.2 million on project generation and support. During 2013, mine district exploration conducted active programs at Sepon, Golden Grove, Rosebery and Kinsevere. Exploration also took place at a number of new discovery projects worldwide, including six projects in Australia, six in the Americas and four in the Southern Africa region. Exploration drilling totalled 132,490 metres, including 90,881 metres for mine district exploration and 41,609 metres for new discovery programs.
Oxide gold exploration was conducted at a number of prospects but tapered off in the second half of the year
due to closure of the gold plant. A major review was undertaken of the excellent Non-Nakachan primary
gold results, which will be followed up by a new 2014 drilling program. Primary gold drilling achieved success at a number of other localities at Discovery West (26m at 5.5g/t Au from 441m), Discovery Main (11m at 8g/t Au from 196m and 9m at 7g/t Au from 198m) and Phavat Main (12m at 11g/t Au from 258m).
Sepon near-mine exploration.
Exploration drilling in the southern leases area was completed by the middle of the year when a similar geophysical ‘Platform Program’ commenced in the northern leases area. Although highly encouraging, new massive sulphide zinc and copper intercepts at Grassi, Bassendean and Felix in the southern leases area cannot
justify the development of an exploration decline.
After the completion of drilling at Lake Rosebery and White Spur, and underground drilling into the Marionoak
domain, exploration drilling was suspended at Rosebery during the middle of the year. The focus of exploration
then shifted to regional structural interpretation and mineralisation and alteration studies.
A seven-hole diamond drilling program was completed at Kinsevere Hill in the mining lease without intersecting
significant mineralisation. MMG continues to increase its tenement holdings within a 50 kilometre radius of the
Kinsevere mine. Reverse circulation drillings (and limited diamond) were carried out at Mukinga and Mukinga
North projects, targeting oxide copper mineralisation. MMG also completed a regional airborne geophysical survey over the Kinsevere tenements area.