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Hammer Metals is kicking off the next round of drilling at its Mount Isa region tenements, starting with the Shadow prospect within the JOGMEC joint venture project.

The company’s commitment to its North West Queensland projects is going against the tide of investor sentiment, according to managing director Daniel Thomas.

“Our investors probably have a firm focus on gold investment at the moment and a lot of our targets in Queensland, while they contain gold, are more copper-rich targets, so our investors are certainly keen for us to be drilling in Western Australia at our gold projects and probably less excited for us drilling in Queensland,” he said.

But he said Hammer’s JOGMEC joint venture partners shared the management team’s passion for defining an ore body in North West Queensland.

In their sights is the potential for an Ernest Henry-style IOCG (iron oxide, copper, gold) deposit with hundreds of millions of tonnes of ore.

“So ballpark numbers, 1 per cent copper, one gram per tonne gold. If we could achieve something like that, we would be pretty happy,” Mr Thomas said.

Drilling is expected to kick off this week for a program covering about 1000m of diamond drilling over three weeks at the Shadow, Toby and Koppany prospects.

It follows a period of preparatory activities over the past few weeks, including establishing water sources and clearing drill pads.

Mapping at the Shadow prospect has delineated a mineralised multiphase breccia unit outcropping over a strike length of 450m with a maximum width of 150m.

The Toby prospect is also part of the Hammer-JOGMEC joint venture and recent electromagnetic survey work identified conductive plates described as providing a compelling target for the next phase of drilling.

The diamond drilling planned for the Koppany copper and REE prospect has attracted State Government finding under the Collaborative Exploration Initiative. That project is held in joint venture with Mount Isa Mines.

Over the past two years, Mr Thomas said many parts of Australia had seen new commercial mineral discoveries and discoveries in areas that had been forgotten about for a period of time.

“In Western Australia (for example) there’s been two discoveries in the Paterson province, so there was Rio Tinto with a prospect called Winu, and then a company called Greatland Gold discovered a project called Havieron – and both of those fantastic discoveries have created a bit of a rush of exploration up in the Paterson province in Western Australia.

“In South Australia we’ve seen a renaissance through where Olympic Dam is with a new discovery there by BHP. In Victoria, there’s been the discovery of the Stavely Gossan deposit, which has created a renaissance through that region, in addition to the gold deposit there, Kirkland Lake Gold’s deposit.

“And in New South Wales, the success of companies like Alkane – their porphyry copper gold discovery there (Boda) has created another mini exploration rush.

“I think it’s really Queensland’s turn now, and that’s part of the reason that we’ve been continually explorers there for the past six years.

“We have a firm belief that there’s a lot of potential in Queensland, and we’re determined to continue exploring in the Mount Isa region.”