HIGHLANDS Pacific and joint venture partner Anglo American have recommenced exploration drilling at the Star Mountains Copper-Gold Project in Papua New Guinea. The US$3 million program, which will increase the 2016 Star Mountains exploration budget to US$9 million, was due to commence in September and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.

The exploration is funded by Anglo American and involves 3500 metres of drilling at two yet to be drilled targets – Unfin and Fune. The targets have been identified following an extensive fieldwork program involving up to seven field crews undertaking geological mapping, rock chip, soil and stream sediment sampling combined with results from an airborne ZTEM survey covering more than 3300 line kms.

Highlands managing director John Gooding said the Star Mountains tenements were very exciting and provided the potential to host a major copper porphyry system.

“The contribution of Anglo American demonstrates their commitment to the Star Mountains project, and we remain quietly confident that ongoing exploration this year will identify further mineralisation. The extensive field work in the first 6 months of the year has provided a lot of information and many interesting targets to be followed up,” he said.

The 2016 program will build on the successful drilling completed in 2015, which confirmed the presence of mineralisation at the two main prospects tested so far – Olgal and Kum Kom.

A total of nine holes were drilled during the 2015 campaign, for 5387 metres. At the Olgal prospect best results were 183 metres from 168 metres downhole @ 0.53% copper and 0.58 grams/tonne (g/t) gold, including 16 metres from 198 metres @0.69% copper and 0.34 g/t gold and 87 metres from 260 metres @ 0.67% copper and 0.84 g/t gold; 430 metres from 168 metres @ 0.39% copper and 0.24 g/t gold; and 434.9 metres @ 0.52% copper and 0.72 g/t gold, including 100 metres from 76 metres @ 0.82% copper and 1.39 g/t gold.

At Kum Kom prospect best results were 30.6 metres @ 0.61% copper and 0.l53 g/t gold, including 12.1 metres from 292.2 metres @ 0.94% copper and 0.72 g/t gold; and 13 metres from 107 metres @ 1.3% copper and 0.53 g/t gold.

Under a December 2014 agreement, Anglo American can acquire an up to 80% interest in the JV.

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