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The Highway Project (containing the Merino Prospect - Figure 10) is situated approximately 590 km from the state capital of Adelaide and 186 km north of Port Augusta and is bisected by the Stuart Highway (A87).


The nearest town is Glendambo which is an important stopping point on the Stuart Highway as there are no further facilities until Coober Pedy 254 km to the north.


Access to site is via tracks off the main Stuart Highway (Figure 10) by the Bil La Kalin Road to the east and the Hawks Nest Bore Road for a northern access. An all-weather airstrip is situated at Glendambo.

Regional location of Highway Project | Taiton Resources

Figure 10. Regional location of South Australian Projects (TMI background).

Target evaluation finds that the Merino Prospect has hallmarks of a large-scale Mo-enriched polymetallic porphyry overlooked by prior explorers. The target style of Mo Porphyry further supports interpretation of the area for extensional rifting.

Magnetic lineaments east of Lake Labyrinth, Gawler Craton, S.A. are interpreted as basin structures relating to intra-cratonic rifting coeval with the Olympic Metallogenic Event.

Historical drill logs indicate that Lower Gawler Range Volcanics (LGRV) are interlayered with sediments currently classified to older stratigraphic units.

The results from zircon analyses from drillholes samples at the South Australia Drill Core Reference Library, suggest historic logging incorrectly assigned various stratigraphic horizons to older formations such as the Tarcoola Formation (BB 2, SARIG 9610, 536717E, 6608898 N).

Zircons Indicating Olympic Metallurgical Event (OME)


The zircon geochronological work has now been completed by the Company and this provides compelling evidence for not only an extension to the OME Domain, but also that Merino itself is likely a shallow hydrothermal system (i.e., by way of the zircon isotope analyses.


The zircons analysed which was extracted from the porphyritic granite (as shallow as 7m depth), appear indicative of hydrothermal mixing of fluids concentrated in Pb, U and REEs. The inference here is that a near-surface, epithermal-style mineral deposit is responsible for producing these metalliferous anomalies.


Zircon grains extracted now indicate previously reported 1650 Ma-age lithologies to be well-constrained at 1598 ± 8.8.Ma. contemporaneous to the OME.

Taiton can also confidently state that the zircon geochemistry analyses indicate a magma related to mineralised porphyry and haematitic IOCG systems with high oxidation state, high-water content, and a high degree of fractionation.

Initial interpretation is for a large hydrothermal system at Merino, with successive overprinting and evidence of vectoring to a core yet to be discovered under shallow cover.

Figure 11. Distribution of drill holes with re-dated zircons returning a U-Pb age coincident with an OME age-extension - Taiton Resources

Figure 11. Distribution of drill holes with re-dated zircons returning a U-Pb age coincident with an OME age-extension. Such new data has both academic and economic significance.

The three drill holes re-examined and re-dated by the Company have been referenced and include (Figure 11):

  1. BB 2, SARIG DH No. 9610, 536717 E, 6608898 N’

  2. BDH 2, SARIG DH No. 6699, 491036 E, 6651392 N,

  3. KIN 12, SARIG DH No. 9672, 527957 E, 6620703 N,

Besides the geochronological analyses, the zircon geochemistry indicates a magma potentially related to mineralised porphyry and haematitic IOCG-type systems with a high oxidation state, high water content and a high degree of fractionation. Taiton interprets these indices as a blind hydrothermal system lying in the vicinity of the Merino Prospect.

CSIRO Hydrochemical Survey supports a hydrothermal active zone for the Highway Project

In addition, hydrogeochemical water bore analyses undertaken by CSIRO/GSSA in the area of the Merino Prospect, are suggestive of the presence of hydrothermal systems at shallow depth (which tends to corroborate the Taiton data).


Reconnaissance exploration by previous explorers in the area found broadly distributed and highly anomalous Mo, Ag, Pb and Zn from sub-cropping basement rocks as shallow as 8m.


The majority of the Highway tenements are blanketed by Quaternary alluvial, aeolian and lacustrine sediments. Despite mostly thin cover (Figure 14), the distribution of concealed older units is not comprehensively documented.

Merino Historical Drilling

At the Merino Prospect, historical drilling (Figure 12) was spatially guided by geochemical indicators in calcrete and float, and drill access via existing tracks.


Upper crustal felsic intrusives are variably described as having microgranite, fine-grained, porphyry and greisen textures and composition. Alteration assemblages consistent with potassic, phyllic and propylitic zoning are reported.


Reconnaissance drilling by MIMEX in JV with Dominion averaged 37m in depth. Those cores have since been lost, and the drill records are not on SARIG.


Selected drill holes retrieved from the original company report (ENV08767) can be found in plan-view, broadly distributed around a K radiometric anomaly in the map. Assays were limited to a small number of elements, and some did not include elements Mo, Ag, F.

IOCG Gravity Targets

The Company has also identified a number of untested residual gravity anomalies from the SARIG database (Figure 14) which are coincident with a new area of interest identified by CSIRO/GSSA's assessment of hydrogeochemical data.


The area is anomalous for IOCG type elements, which in conjunction with zircon geochronology work by the Company, suggests potential OME-age hydrothermal system. Historical gravity station grids over the tenements are mostly broadly spaced, with gravity stations at more than 1000m apart. However, the company intends to conduct infill gravity surveys for the detection of iron oxide mineralisation, which is commonly associated with IOCG and skarn deposits.

Figure 12. Previous exploration results for the Merino Prospect-Highway - Taiton Resources

Figure 12. Previous exploration results for the Merino Prospect-Highway Polymetallic Project. The area is suspected to form part of a rift complex containing porphyry systems and coeval with the OME according to recent geochronological dating by the Company.

Figure 14. Residual gravity contours within Highway tenements - Taiton Resources

Figure 14. Residual gravity contours within Highway tenements over depth to basement. The Company expects to follow these up in Year 1.

Exploration Strategy

The suggested initial exploration approach for the Highway Project comprises a multi-disciplinary approach:

(i) An Induced Polarisation (I.P.) geophysical survey. However, one drawback is that this technique cannot be relied upon to discriminate ore zones from pyrite. Ore grade Mo is associated primarily with high-temperature alteration assemblages, both as a vein-filling phase and as replacements in quartz vein selvages.


In polymetallic porphyry systems, pyrite is rarely present in ore zones, but is found in later, lower-temperature veins and Pb-Zn-Ag assemblages, as is evident in past drilling at Merino.


However, I.P. may be a useful tool in discriminating for pyritic halos elsewhere, to discover other porphyry prospects under cover. A planned survey centred around the Merino Prospect is shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15. Proposed exploration to be focussed on and around historic drill results - Taiton Resources

Figure 15. Proposed exploration to be focussed on and around historic drill results from the prospective Merino Prospect (Highway Project).

(ii) Reconnaissance drilling. The cover at the Merino Prospect is shallow  (Figure 14) and favourable to low-cost AC drilling to sample basement for multi-element assay and in this way, to geochemically vector to an ore discovery.

(iii) New geochemical and petrological data. This will advance understanding of the porphyry system at Merino, including spatial positioning of siliceous core, fracturing, and breccia where volatiles have exploded from boiling zones, ruptured intrusive caps, and precipitated molybdenum.

(iv) Gravity Surveys. The Company reports to Midas Touch Geological Services that four gravity anomalies have been interpreted, which reflect dense basement lithologies rather than buried elevated palaeotopography. The gravity anomalies form bullseyes at spatial scales similar to IOCG, e.g., Carrapateena. Gravity anomalies have not been drill-tested. Approximately 1 km east of the priority gravity anomaly, drillholes to basement, KIN 21 (EOH 41 m) intercepted anomalous elements (Ba 1610 ppm, Ce 84 ppm, La 43 ppm, V 141 ppm) in altered LGRV, Konkaby Basalt; and KIN22 (EOH 65 m), intercepted a brecciated quartz vein. The depth to magnetic basement is anticipated to be less than 100m.

The Company believes that existing data supports a strategy for discovery of Mo-enriched porphyry at Merino Prospect. Follow up exploration will assist in the compilation of an ore paragenesis model of the style and type of mineralisation at the Merino Prospect, especially in resolving whether the Ag-Pb-Zn in the quartz veins is superimposed, or peripheral to an Mo-rich porphyry. Porphyry stocks, breccias, Ag-Pb-Zn veins, skarns, as well as IOCG, within the broader Highway Project, constitute multiple exploration target styles and strategies for vectoring to a defined mineral deposit.

Prospectivity of Rare Earth Elements

The Company considers the Highway Project to be prospective for ionic clay rare earth element (REE) resources. Recent developments in the region include Petratherm Limited’s (ASX:PTR) discovery of REEs in a clay horizon at its Comet Project located approximately 50 km north west of the Highway Project. Indiana Resources Limited (ASX:IDA) also hold tenements to the north west and abutting the Highway Project, and recently announced a review of their geochemical database, which includes shallow clays with highly anomalous La, Ce and Y REEs.

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