The historic Sunny Corner mine was at one time the largest silver producer in NSW. After beginning as a gold mine in 1865, silver was discovered in 1877 with grades high enough for direct shipping to London (rumoured to be up to 1,000 g/t). During 1881-1883 a large quantity of silver ore was carted by a horse or bullock team to Rydal, by train to Sydney, and then by ship to London. The Sunny Corner Silver Mining Co was formed in 1884 and became the first successful silver mining and smelting operation in Australia, producing more than 90 tonnes of silver.
Located approximately 175 kilometres from Sydney, the Sunny Corner project operates under the exploration licence EL5964 and covers an area of approximately 104 square kilometres. This area is characterised by three different mineralisation styles, as follows:
- Volcanogenic Massive Sulphides (VMS) systems (e.g. historic Sunny Corner mine – silver, lead, zinc and copper);
- Remobilised structurally-controlled shear-hosted base metals (e.g. Nevada Mine – copper); and
- Quartz vein-hosted gold with a genetic link to quartz-feldspar porphyry intrusions.
70% Joint Venture interest earned
In June 2007 Argent Minerals entered into a farmin and joint venture agreement with Golden Cross Resources Limited (GCR) for the Sunny Corner project. On 16 May 2013 Argent Minerals satisfied all of the earn-in expenditure requirements, and now owns a 70% interest in the project.
Current land use within the project area is a mixture of pine plantations and state forest areas, and farming and grazing of the hobby variety. The area is very well served by a network of forest access roads, and the Great Western Highway is only 6 kilometres from the Sunny Corner Mine.
Exploration work conducted by Argent Minerals on EL5964 includes airborne geophysics (VTEM – Versatile Time-domain ElectroMagnetic survey), metallurgical and RC drilling and test-work of Sunny Corner polymetallic deposit material. The Company’s joint venture partner, GCR, has also previously conducted an intense gold exploration program over the Bobs Creek porphyry prospect and the Little Hill/Big Hill quartz vein prospects. This work included detailed geological mapping, geochemical sampling and drilling.
JORC Mineral Resource – rich base metal grades
An Inferred Resource was initially announced for the Sunny Corner project on 12 August 2008 and was subsequently restated in the Argent Minerals 2013 Annual Report under the JORC Code 2004. The Mineral Resource comprises 1.5 Mt @ 3.7% Zn, 2.1% Pb, 0.39% Cu, 24 g/t Ag and 0.17 g/t Au at a 2.5% combined base metals cutoff grade. (See Resource statement here).
The following long section (south to north) shows the structure of the known deposit and the extent of the rich grades intercepted – up to 37.25% combined base metals.
The exploration strategy of Argent Minerals at EL5964 primarily focuses on the targeting of VMS silver, lead, zinc, copper and gold mineralisation, similar to what has been previously discovered within the historic mine area of Sunny Corner.
A secondary target at EL5964 is the discovery of additional shallow orogenic gold lodes of a sufficient size to supplement Argent Minerals’ existing mineral deposit within the main Sunny Corner mine area. These deposits could potentially provide feedstock to a single centralised Sunny Corner processing operation, or, provided that the grades are high enough, to the Kempfield Polymetallic Project located 115 kilometres by road from the Sunny Corner mine. Several historic workings of this type are known within the project area, including the Paddy Lackey, St George Reef and Dunns Reef prospects.