BUNDI in South Australia. Robert Friedland’s HPX, which is led by Anglo American’s former chief geoscientist Mark Gibson, is earning up to 80 per cent of the project, where drilling began this week. In Friedland fashion, HPX also boasts the former chief geologists of Rio Tinto and BHP. Credit: Apollo Minerals

BUNDI in South Australia. Robert Friedland’s HPX, which is led by Anglo American’s former chief geoscientist Mark Gibson, is earning up to 80 per cent of the project, where drilling began this week. In Friedland fashion, HPX also boasts the former chief geologists of Rio Tinto and BHP. Credit: Apollo Minerals

Friedland's HPX Drilling for Motherlode in South Australia

Issue 90, June 2014

ASX-listed Apollo Minerals, a land-rich but cash-poor explorer in South Australia, looks set to become the next naked punt on the mine-finding abilities of financier Robert Friedland, after it kicked off a drilling campaign at its Bundi prospect this week.

Apollo signed an earn-in agreement with Friedland’s privately held exploration vehicle HPX in February, granting it up to 80 per cent of Apollo’s Commonwealth Hill license and up to 20 per cent of Apollo’s stock for around $5m.

Apollo is targeting an iron-oxide-copper-gold motherlode comparable to BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine, due east of Commonwealth Hill and on the same trend. Work to date at the project, which includes the Bundi prospect, suggests it contains an orebody as large as Olympic Dam and as dense as the nearby Prominent Hill mine, indicating high grades, but Bundi has never been drilled at depth.

HPX, which has developed proprietary surveying technology dubbed Typhoon, completed a mammoth 140 sq km geophysical survey over Bundi in May, scanning for shallow sulphide bodies with a footprint of at least 1km by 400m. The results found “co-incident dense, chargeable targets which may represent significant sulphide bodies”, though only drilling will be able to confirm this, Apollo said. Drill rigs have now been mobilised.

Indicating its confidence in its own surveying technology, which pumps surges of high voltage electrical power into the ground, HPX is obliged to trigger or drop the second tranche of its equity earn-in by the end of June, before drill results will be public.

“They, like us, believe all the exploration results stack up,” Apollo’s chief executive Dominic Tisdell told Global Mining Observer. “Obviously Robert Friedland’s got an excellent reputation for being a serious explorer and that was the most important thing for us.”

“HPX’s view was that if they can get fit-for-purpose in Australia, they should be able to get the technology pretty much anywhere,” another source working with HPX said, “because some of the standards are probably a little more stringent than in places like Africa and South America.”

Drill results from Commonwealth Hill are due in the next 8 weeks. Shares in Apollo last traded at A$2.6c, valuing the company at A$13m ($12m).

“They, like us, believe all the exploration results stack up.”

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