Mining giant Rio Tinto has made a copper-gold discovery at the Winu project in the far east Pilbara region of Western Australia.


Image: Rio Tinto discovers copper-gold mineralization at Winu project. Photo: courtesy of Stevebidmead/Pixabay.

The Winu project is located in the Yeneena Basin in the Paterson Province. It is situated about 130km north of the Telfer copper and gold mine and 350km southeast of Port Hedland.

Rio Tinto Exploration (RTX) made the discovery while carrying out a program targeted at finding copper mineralization in the Paterson Province.

The exploration program held between December 2017 and the end of 2018, involved drilling of eight reverse circulation (RC) and twenty diamond holes on exploration licence E45/4833, totalling 13,286m.

RTX recommenced diamond drilling at the Winu project last month. The company completed drilling of four holes to a depth of 1,409m during 2019 with assay results due to come.

As per Rio Tinto, the assay results so far indicate relatively wide intersections of copper mineralization that is seen with gold and silver.

The company reported vein style copper, gold and silver mineralization beneath relatively shallow cover, in the range of 50-100m. The mineralization remains open at depth and to the east, north and south, said the mining giant.

Rio Tinto, in a statement, said: “While results are encouraging, the exploration project is still at an early stage and drilling to date does not allow sufficient understanding of the mineralised body to assess the potential size or quality of the mineralisation nor to enable estimation of a Mineral Resource.

“The assessment and interpretation of existing data is ongoing and will be used to help guide the drilling in 2019.”

RTX, in conjunction with the ongoing work at the Winu project, will continue to explore its adjacent 100% owned licences and joint venture licences located within the Paterson Province.

In December 2018, Rio Tinto had deployed a $664m program called AutoHaul focused on automating trains transporting iron ore to its port facilities in the Pilbara region.

A month before that, the mining major approved an investment of $2.6bn in the Koodaideri iron ore mine in the Pilbara region, which has an estimated annual capacity of 43 million tons.