Mutooroo is a lode-style massive sulphide copper-cobalt deposit located about 60 km southwest of Broken Hill. It contains a Measured, Indicated and Inferred JORC Resource of 13.1 million tonnes of 1.5% copper, 0.16% cobalt and 0.20 g/t gold for a total contained 195,000 tonnes of copper, 20,200 tonnes of cobalt and 82,100 ounces of gold (numbers rounded).
The deposit transitions from an outcropping gossanous secondary copper zone that was exploited by the early prospectors during the late 1800’s, to massive sulphide mineralisation below 20-25 metres depth. The latter is typically composed of pyrrhotite (60%) – quartz fragments (25%) – pyrite (5%) – chalcopyrite (5%) with local fragments of variably altered country rock.
Drilling has shown remarkably wide and continuous sulphide zones at comparatively shallow depths. To date, only about one third (approximately 700 metres) of the known mineralised strike has been drilled by Havilah.
Mutooroo is a potentially valuable source of the strategic or “energy metal” cobalt, which is an important component of the majority of lithium-ion batteries. With the upsurge occurring in lithium-ion battery manufacture, driven by the revolution in electric cars and household energy storage, demand for cobalt is likely to increase significantly over the next decade. Almost all cobalt is produced as a by-product, therefore the supply is relatively inelastic. Moreover, more than 50% of global cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it is likely that manufacturers will prefer to source supplies from more stable, non-conflict parts of the world. Deposits such as Mutooroo are therefore likely to become extremely sought after as a supply of cobalt.
Havilah is currently pursuing a low capital strategy of recovering the majority of the copper and cobalt as high grade chalcopyrite and pyrite concentrates by grinding and flotation, followed by leaching of the pyrrhotite sulphide residue and the oxidised ore. Ideally, if adequate capital was available, the Mutooroo massive sulphide ore could be processed via a 500,000 tonne per annum roaster and sulphuric acid plant that would recover all valuable metals (ie copper, cobalt and gold) plus appreciable sulphuric acid, iron ore and co-generated electricity.
The surrounding Mutooroo copper-cobalt district contains widespread copper-cobalt sulphide mineralisation confirmed by high grade copper and cobalt assays in surface lag and soil samples, highlighting the potential for discovery of additional resources that could expand a future mining operation at Mutooroo.
The picture above shows recent follow up cobalt surface sampling results at the Sidewinder prospect area.