BHP release Olympic Dam copper drilling results

BHP has taken the unusual step of releasing early-stage drilling results from one of its exploration projects, with the mining giant ­announcing a copper discovery in South Australia, The Australian is reporting.

The company said that four drill holes had identified a potential new copper system about 65km southeast of its Olympic Dam mine.

The scale of BHP means it rarely, if ever, makes individual disclosures about its exploration programs. But the company has been increasingly trying to highlight its growth credentials, and yesterday’s news also comes at a time when rival giant Rio Tinto is rumoured to have made its own Australian copper discovery.

BHP said the drilling, which included an eye-catching 425.7m of mineralisation grading 3.04 per cent copper and 0.59 grams per tonne gold, appeared to be an iron oxide copper gold system — the same style of mineralisation found at Olympic Dam.

But it also stressed that the new find still had a long way to go.

“This exploration project is at an early stage and there is currently insufficient geological information to assess the size, quality and continuity of the mineralised intersections,” BHP said in a statement.