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Drillholes at Evolution Mining’s Ernest Henry operation in Queensland have intersected significant mineralisation.

The drillholes were part of the ongoing Ernest Henry exploration program, implemented after the company took full ownership of the mine in early January 2022.

Results from Ernest Henry include:

• 157m at 1.26g/t gold and 1.62 per cent copper
• 102m at 1.06g/t gold and 1.39 per cent copper
• 90.8m at 1.42g/t gold and 1.54 per cent copper.

“Ernest Henry is a world-class operation and a key asset in the Evolution portfolio,” Evolution Mining executive chair Jake Klein said.

“The outstanding copper-gold grades and widths in the new drilling results demonstrate the exciting potential for mineralisation to extend up-plunge and at depth.”

These results will support the pre-feasibility study (PFS) mine-life extension. Evolution hopes to complete the PFS in the first half of the 2023 financial year, which could realise a further 4–5 years of mine life to the project’s 875mrl (metres relative level).

“This showcases the significant opportunity that exists to extend the life of this high-margin operation,” Klein said.

“Our exploration team is making good progress with the ongoing drilling program, which continues to focus on opportunities to demonstrate continuity and extensions to the orebody.”

The surface drilling holes targeted the northern and southern extensions of the operation, with the northern fan intersecting significantly wide mineralisation below the PFS level.

The location and width of mineralisation intersected in these drillholes is significant, as they lie outside the current mineralisation interpretation. Encouragingly, the width of these intersections increases the potential for an up-plunge extension of mineralisation.

A follow-up drilling program is currently underway to test the continuity of mineralisation.

This discovery comes amid major recent developments in the copper sector, including BHP’s $9.6 billion takeover of OZ Minerals and Rio Tinto’s ongoing efforts to secure Turquoise Hill Resources and its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

Many in the industry have taken these moves as a sign that majors are keen to get their hands on as much copper as possible as the world transitions to cleaner energy sources.

According to a recent report from S&P Global, copper’s role in building electric vehicles (EVs) and trucks, transmission lines, and solar and wind farms will double demand for the metal in the coming decades.