What is Lachlan Fold Belt and who are the major operators there?

Summary

  • The Lachlan Fold Belt (LFB) is located in New South Wales and is deemed one of the most sought-after mining regions in Australia.
  • The region has a high potential for porphyry copper-gold deposits, and its prospectivity is only increasing, driven by ongoing exploration activities.
  • ASX-listed miners, including Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining, and Silver Mines Limited, are engaged in the exploration and production activities in the area.

New South Wales has been established as a future state for gold, copper, and other base metals exploration and production since the 1850s. The state is the second-largest gold producing region of Australia, with gold endowments exceeding 3160 tonnes.

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The Lachlan Fold Belt (LFB), located in New South Wales, is deemed one of the most sought-after mining regions in Australia. LFB has a vast history of mineral production, including gold, copper, lead, tin, zinc, and silver. In addition, the region holds good potential for new discoveries.

LFB has a complicated tectonic history - the belt is developed from the stratotectonic Lachlan Marginal Mobile Zone. LFB formation can be viewed as a series of tensional and compressional deformational events, with the major tensional stress maintaining an approximate east-west orientation.

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LFB has become a highly prospective region for porphyry copper-gold deposits. The region’s prospectivity has increased, driven by the ongoing exploration and successful mining operations. Most of the gold in Australia comes from open-cut mining and underground mining, which is carried out in places where open-cut mining cannot access the depth of gold deposits.

Who operates in Lachlan Fold Belt?

Several major operators are taking advantage of the geological deposits in the area, including the world-renowned Cadia-Ridgeway Copper Mine, operated by Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM). The mine has an ore reserve of 21Moz gold & 4.3Mt copper while mineral resource at the mine stands at 37Moz gold & 8.2Mt copper. The miner has produced 843koz gold and 96kt copper in FY20.

Another ASX-listed gold-focused miner, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), holds Lake Cowal Mine in the LFB. The miner acquired Cowal mine in 2015, and since then, it has delivered a ground-breaking performance. As per the company's announcement in February 2020, Cowal has gold mineral resources of 8.6Moz and gold ore reserves of 3.6Moz. In addition, the miner has added 3.4Moz to ore reserves since the acquisition of the mine.

ALSO READ: Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) Enters All-Cash Deal to Acquire Battle North Gold 

The Bowdens silver mine of NSW, operated by Australia-based Silver Mines Limited (ASX:SVL), is another record-breaking achievement of LFB. The Bowdens mine is one of the largest underdeveloped regions of the country and contains a mineral resource of 275Moz silver, as per the company's announcement in February 2021.

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Alkane Resources’ (ASX:ALK) Tomingley gold mine that sits on the LFB is also a significant producer of gold. Open-cut mining from the four deposits of the mine from late 2013 to early 2019 has produced 6,271,000 tonnes of ore with an average grading of 1.95g/t.

GOOD READ: Alkane Resources Confirms Third Near-Mine Discovery

Many junior exploration and production companies are also engaged in the exploration and production from the area. ASX-listed junior explorer Godolphin Resources (ASX:GRL) is ready to kick off an RC drilling program at its Lewis Pond project for gold.

Around one month ago, Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) increased its footprints in Lachlan Fold Belt elephant country by adding 570 sq. km of new tenure in its portfolio. MinRex Resources (ASX:MRR) has encountered quartz veining and sulphide mineralisation in the maiden RC drilling at the Wiles project in LFB.

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