Studies by Sydney-based Golden Cross Resources Ltd (ASX: GCR) show that the in situ value of the Copper Hill project could be worth $US2 billion, based on a milling operation of 8 million tonnes per annum.
The company's managing director Kim Stanton-Cook told a media luncheon in Perth today that the company was now looking to engage global commodity specialists to find an end-user to become a joint venture partner on the basis that Copper Hill would be a long-term reliable producer.
Should a potential partner be found by the last quarter of this year then more intense drilling would be undertaken to quantify a substantial measured reserve that could then lead to a bankable feasibility study.
Using a 0.2% copper cut-off, the project has a resource of 133 million tonnes grading 0.31% copper and 0.28 grams/tonne gold, representing a contained 421,000t of contained copper and 1.2 M oz gold.
It was estimated that in a 12 years mining life Copper Hill could produce 260,000t of Cu and between 400-500,000 oz gold.
Stanton-Cook told Mineweb that at this stage only 13% of the resource was in the measured category and conversion of some of the indicated-inferred resources was necessary.
He said a logical partner could be a Chinese copper metal producer and a partner could end up with a 60% project stake.
Though lower grade than Newcrest Mining Ltd's huge Cadia Valley gold-copper mines to the immediate south, Copper Hill has ideal infrastructure and sits near an established railway line and a large power sub station and is only 5 kilometres from the community of Molong which is keen to see a mine developed.
Golden Cross has a large portfolio of properties in NSW, Queensland and in Western Australia, many of which Stanton-Cook has turned into joint ventures in the past two years to minimise costs.
At the same time the company has moved into the Americas, with a joint venture and licence applications for copper-lead-zinc-silver properties in Panama and an uranium joint venture in Canada's.
The Panamanian joint ventures are with locally-managed Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc (TSX: BHV) where Golden Cross can earn 70% the Boca de Higui and Los Hatillos licences, north of the Panamanian town of Santiago. Bellhaven is focused on developing the big Cerro Chorcha copper-gold project, north of the billion tonne Cerro Colorado project that is still in government hands.
Golden Cross has several tenement applications in Panama.
Stanton-Cook said the company was introduced to the country by director and geologist Chris Torrey who many years ago managed the Panamanian exploration programmes for two North American companies.
The company's uranium project in Canada is Notakwanon, a property in Labrador in equal partnership with Altius Minerals Corporation (TSX: ALS) takes in a series of targets that has produced high grade uranium assays.