Alta Zinc Ltd (ASX:AZI) (FRA:8EE) has started drilling at Ponente, a historical production area of the Gorno Zinc Project, in Lombardy, northern Italy, which hosts a significant northwest extension of the Metallifero Formation, the primary host to much of the zinc-lead mineralisation that has also been consistently drilled at Pian Bracca. 

Its mining contractor, Edilmac Srl has started an initial 25-hole/1,000 metres underground diamond drilling program in the west of the Ponente area, a step-out of 850 metres from the ongoing drilling campaign at Pian Bracca. 

Drilling also continues at Pian Bracca South, with drilling now in operation at both areas. 

Delivering on strategy

Alta Zinc managing director Geraint Harris said: “Expanding our drilling to Ponente is delivering on our strategy to show significant extensions of mineralisation at the Gorno mine.

“It’s a great example of the lower risk exploration opportunity at Gorno and by following up on successful channel sampling with drilling, we are repeating our methodology from the start of the Pian Bracca campaign 15 months ago.

“Our drilling since then has returned consistent high-grade and thick intersections of mineralisation throughout the Pian Bracca corridor and has also led us to discover high-grade and thick mineralisation extending into the Pian Bracca South area.

“Following an exceptionally well-executed underground rehabilitation program at Ponente, we are very much looking forward to producing more exciting drill results from our two drilling areas simultaneously, to deliver strong news-flow and continue to grow the mineral resource base at Gorno.”

Follow-up to channel sampling

Drilling at Ponente will progress from west to east, exploring a corridor with an 800 metres strike length and about 300 metres width.

The drilling is following up Alta’s channel sampling of the existing workings in that area, which returned high grades including:

  • 2.8 metres at 20.1% zinc, 5.3% lead, 46 g/t silver;
  • 2.2 metres at 28.8% zinc, 3.2% lead, 39 g/t silver; and
  • 2.0 metres at 14.9% zinc, 1.4% lead, 21 g/t silver.

Initial results end March

The drilling campaign planned at Ponente targets the well understood Metallifero Formation from the existing underground access.

Initially, 25 short diamond drill holes are required to provide maximum information from just a 1,000 metres campaign.

Follow-on drilling will be planned on extensional targets once discovered.

This highly efficient campaign is possible because the existing access was historically developed for the purposes of exploration and to be close to the known and expected mineralisation.

However, full exploration and exploitation were never carried out due to the premature closure of the mine.

Initial results from this new campaign are expected by the end of March.