New step-out targets identified from high-powered electromagnetic surveys

TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / May 7, 2024 / Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (TSXV:BAY)(OTCQB:ATBHF) ("Aston Bay" or the "Company") is pleased to present the preliminary interpretation of the initial results from geophysical activities currently underway at the Storm Copper Project ("Storm" or the "Project") on Somerset Island, Nunavut. The program is being conducted by American West Metals Limited ("American West"), who is the operator of the Project. American West has completed the required expenditures to earn an undivided 80% interest in the Project. American West will be solely responsible for funding the program.


  • Preliminary interpretation of the initial Moving Loop Electromagnetic (MLEM) survey results has identified several new exploration targets highlighting excellent potential to discover additional copper mineralization
  • The initial MLEM data indicates that the high-grade copper mineralization at the Cyclone Zone likely extends in most directions
  • New EM anomalies have also been identified over 1,000 metres ("m") along strike from the Chinook Zone as well as in the areas of the 2023 discoveries at the Thunder, Lightning Ridge and Gap Prospects, indicating strong potential for extensions to known high-grade copper mineralization
  • The MLEM surveys continue in the Storm area, and will then move south toward the Blizzard and Tornado Prospects
  • Deeper-looking MLEM surveys are also planned between the North and South Graben Faults in the Storm area
  • Track-mounted Reverse-Circulation (RC) drilling is underway and will test these new targets as well as several historical EM anomalies and other high-priority targets for near-surface high-grade copper mineralization
  • A second RC drill rig is currently being mobilised to site, which will join the first RC and two diamond rigs currently onsite

The 2024 high-powered Moving Loop Electromagnetic (MLEM) survey has already successfully identified numerous conductive anomalies throughout the Storm area, including multiple anomalies that are adjacent to known copper mineralization and are untested by drilling.

"It is very encouraging to see geophysics identify new targets at Storm," stated Thomas Ullrich, CEO of Aston Bay. "Moving Loop EM anomalies have demonstrated a very strong correlation with high-grade copper mineralization, so these are high-priority drill targets. This initial phase of geophysics is designed to be effective in the shallow subsurface, less than 200 metres depth, well within reach of the RC drill rigs on site. The ongoing drilling will aim to test these targets in the coming weeks and over the summer program.

"The upcoming deep-penetrating, wider-spaced MLEM survey is designed to explore the Storm central graben area below the known mineralization with a targeted search space of 200-500m depth. This opens a whole new space for potential discovery. In the 2024 season we intersected copper mineralization at these depths with the same mineralogy as seen at the surface. We anticipate these deeper-looking surveys will enhance our drill targeting for potentially thicker and more laterally extensive zones of mineralization in this very prospective but underexplored zone."

Figure 1: High-powered Electromagnetic (EM) surveys continue to generate new targets at the Storm Project, Nunavut, Canada.


The high-powered MLEM survey is advancing rapidly and is initially being used to highlight the priority areas within the Storm area for expansion of the near-surface zones of higher-grade copper mineralization and to identify new targets for drilling (Figure 2).

The copper mineralization at Storm is dominantly chalcocite (a copper sulfide mineral with 79.8% Cu content), occurring as massive sulfides in breccias and veinlets. Minor chalcopyrite (copper sulfide with 34.5% Cu content) is present on the margins of the mineralized profiles. The contrast in conductivity between chalcocite and the highly resistive dolomite host rocks makes EM an effective targeting tool in this area.

The initial MLEM surveys at Storm have used 200m N-S line spacings, 100m sensor stations, and 200m x 200m loops. This configuration provides rapid coverage and is effective in defining the known near-surface high-grade copper mineralization at Storm.

Figure 2: Recently completed MLEM survey image (Ch18Z) and remaining proposed lines in the Storm area, overlaying drilling, and aerial photography. Hotter colours (red/green) indicate higher conductivity. Gaps in this survey were completed in 2023 and will be integrated into the final modeling and interpretation.

Approximately 22.7 line-kilometres ("km") of the proposed >50 line-km MLEM survey have been completed within the Storm area (Figure 2). The initial survey lines broadly cover the southern graben area and around the Cyclone Zone, with the geophysical team working west along the major trend of the graben. Once the western portion of the survey is complete, the team will then work east, from the Chinook Zone, toward the Blizzard and Tornado Prospect areas.

The initial survey data from the Cyclone area shows clear EM anomalies outside of the current copper resource envelope (Figure 2). This data strongly suggests that the higher-grade copper mineralization is open and continues into these conductive areas. This interpretation is supported by drilling on the margins of the Cyclone Zone, which include intersections including 16m @ 3.07% Cu from 93m downhole (drillhole SROR1601D) and 10.2m @ 2.1% Cu from 17.3m and 5.8m @ 3.6% Cu from 38.6m downhole (drillhole ST99-53).

Figure 3: Recently completed MLEM survey image (Ch18Z) of the Cyclone Zone overlaying drilling, major faults, and aerial photography. Hotter colours (red/green) indicate higher conductivity. Gaps in this survey were completed in 2023 and will be integrated into the final modeling and interpretation.

The survey data from the current coverage over the Southern Graben area, including around the Thunder Prospect (where drilling has intersected 48.6m @ 3% Cu from 35m downhole in drill hole ST23-03), has clearly defined conductive features along the strike of the fault network in the area (Figure 4). Weakly conductive cover is present in the area of the Thunder Prospect (most likely a thin overlap of the Allen Bay and Cape Storm formations), slightly masking the full EM response of the bedrock anomalies.

The correlation with the graben faults and orientation of the EM conductors suggests the potential for further discoveries of high-grade copper sulfides in a similar setting to the Thunder, Lightning Ridge, Chinook, and Corona zones. Approximately 10km of the graben faults remain underexplored in the southern Storm area alone, underscoring the very significant exploration potential.

All of the conductive features defined to date are located proximal to high-grade copper intersected in drilling, making them compelling targets for the discovery of further copper sulfides and extensions to the known zones of copper mineralization. The MLEM surveys will continue to screen the broader Storm area, with follow-up surveys over some of the preliminary conductors to help better constrain the modeling for drill testing.

Figure 4: Recently completed MLEM survey image (Ch18Z) of the South Graben area, overlaying drilling, major faults, and aerial photography. Hotter colours (red/green) indicate higher conductivity. Gaps in this survey were completed in 2023 and will be integrated into the final modeling and interpretation.


  • RC drilling is in progress in the Storm area testing geophysical and resource targets. The second RC drill rig is currently being mobilized to site.
  • EM surveys are continuing at near-surface and deeper areas of interest within the Storm area. The surveys will then move to the Tornado and Blizzard copper prospect areas.
  • Planning is complete and preparations are underway for a broad range of environmental monitoring and survey activities during 2024.
  • Studies are progressing on a range of beneficiation processing methods on a variety of mineralized material from the Cyclone and Chinook Deposits.
  • Project development studies are continuing.

About the Storm Copper and Seal Zinc-Silver Projects, Nunavut

The Nunavut property consists of 173 contiguous mining claims covering an area of approximately 219,257 hectares on Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada. The Storm Project comprises both the Storm Copper Project, a high-grade sediment-hosted copper discovery (intersections including 110m* @ 2.5% Cu from surface and 56.3m* @ 3.1% Cu from 12.2m) as well as the Seal Zinc Deposit (intersections including 14.4m* @ 10.6% Zn, 28.7g/t Ag from 51.8m and 22.3m* @ 23.0% Zn, 5.1g/t Ag from 101.5m). Additionally, there are numerous underexplored and undrilled targets within the 120-kilometre strike length of the mineralized trend, including the Tornado copper prospect where 10 grab samples yielded >1% Cu up to 32% Cu in gossans. The Nunavut property is now the subject of an 80/20 unincorporated joint venture with American West (see "Agreement with American West" below for more details).

Storm Discovery and Historical Work

High-grade copper mineralization was discovered at Storm in the mid-1990s by Cominco geologists conducting regional zinc exploration around their then-producing Polaris lead-zinc mine. A massive chalcocite boulder found in a tributary of the Aston River in 1996 was traced to impressive surface exposures of broken chalcocite mineralization for hundreds of metres of surface strike length at what became named the 2750N, 2200N, and 3500N zones. Subsequent seasons of prospecting, geophysics and over 9,000 m of drilling into the early 2000s confirmed a significant amount of copper mineralization below the surface exposures as well as making the blind discovery of the 4100N Zone, a large area of copper mineralization with no surface exposure.

Following the merger of Cominco with Teck in 2001 and the closure of the Polaris Mine, the Storm claims were allowed to lapse in 2007. Commander Resources staked the property in 2008 and flew a helicopter-borne VTEM survey in 2011 but conducted no additional drilling. Aston Bay subsequently entered into an earn-in agreement with Commander and consolidated 100% ownership in 2015. Commander retained a 0.875% Gross Overriding Royalty in the area of the original Storm claims which was purchased by Taurus Mining Royalty Fund L.P. in January 2024.

In 2016 Aston Bay entered into an earn-in agreement with BHP, who conducted a 2,000-station soil sampling program and drilled 1,951m of core in 12 diamond drill holes, yielding up to 16m* @ 3.1% Cu. BHP exited the agreement in 2017 and retains no residual interest in the project. Aston Bay conducted a property-wide airborne gravity gradiometry survey in 2017 and drilled 2,913m in nine core holes in the Storm area in 2018 yielding a best intercept of 1.5m* @ 4.4% Cu and 20.5m* @ 0.6% Cu.

Agreement with American West

As previously disclosed, Aston Bay entered into an Option Agreement dated March 9, 2021 (the "Option Agreement") with American West Metals Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tornado Metals Ltd. (collectively, "American West") pursuant to which American West was granted an option (the "Option") to earn an 80% undivided interest in the Project by spending a minimum of CAD$10 million on qualifying exploration expenditures ("Expenditures"). The parties amended and restated the Option Agreement as of February 27, 2023 to facilitate American West potentially financing the Expenditures through flow-through shares but did not change the commercial agreement between the parties.

The Expenditures were completed during the 2023 drilling program and American West exercised the Option in accordance with the terms of the Option Agreement, as amended. American West and Aston Bay will form an 80/20 unincorporated joint venture and enter into a joint venture agreement. Under such agreement, Aston Bay shall have a free carried interest until American West has made a decision to mine upon completion of a bankable feasibility study, meaning American West will be solely responsible for funding the joint venture until such decision is made. After such decision is made, Aston Bay will be diluted in the event it does not elect to contribute its proportionate share and its interest in the Project will be converted into a 2% net smelter returns royalty if its interest is diluted to below 10%.

Recent Work

American West completed a fixed loop electromagnetic (FLEM) ground geophysical survey in 2021 that yielded several new subsurface conductive anomalies. A total of 1,534m were drilled in 10 diamond drill holes in the 2022 season, yielding several impressive near-surface intercepts including 41m* @ 4.1% Cu as well as 68m of sulfide mineralization associated with a deeper conductive anomaly.

In April 2022, results of beneficiation studies demonstrated that a mineralized intercept grading 4% Cu from the 4100N area could be upgraded to a 54% Cu direct ship product using standard sorting technology. Further beneficiation studies are ongoing.

In April 2023, American West embarked on a spring delineation drilling program using a helicopter-portable RC drill rig as well as conducting gravity and moving loop electromagnetic (MLEM) ground geophysical programs.

The summer 2023 program conducted further delineation drilling of the near-surface high-grade copper zones to advance them toward maiden resource estimates by late 2023 or early 2024. Diamond drilling tested new high-priority gravity targets and environmental baseline studies will be initiated.

*Stated drill hole intersections are all core length, and true width is expected to be 60% to 100% of core length.

QA/QC Protocols

The analytical work reported on herein was performed by ALS Global ("ALS"), Vancouver Canada. ALS is an ISO-IEC 17025:2017 and ISO 9001:2015 accredited geoanalytical laboratory and is independent of Aston Bay Holdings Ltd., American West Metals Limited, and the QP. Drill core and hand samples were subject to crushing at a minimum of 70% passing 2 mm, followed by pulverizing of a 250-gram split to 85% passing 75 microns. Samples were subject to 33 element geochemistry by four-acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) to determine concentrations of copper, silver, lead, zinc, and other elements (ALS Method ME-ICP61a). Overlimit values for copper (>10%) and were analyzed via four-acid digestion and ICP-AES (ALS Method Cu-OG62).

Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. and American West Metals Limited followed industry standard procedures for the work carried out on the Storm Project, incorporating a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program. Blank, duplicate, and standard samples were inserted into the sample sequence and sent to the laboratory for analysis. No significant QA/QC issues were detected during review of the data. Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. and American West Metals Limited are not aware of any drilling, sampling, recovery, or other factors that could materially affect the accuracy or reliability of the data referred to herein.

Qualified Person

Michael Dufresne, M.Sc., P.Geol., P.Geo., is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release.

About Aston Bay Holdings

Aston Bay is a publicly traded mineral exploration company exploring for high-grade copper and gold deposits in Virginia, USA, and Nunavut, Canada. The Company is led by CEO Thomas Ullrich with exploration in Virginia directed by the Company's advisor, Don Taylor, the 2018 Thayer Lindsley Award winner for his discovery of the Taylor Pb-Zn-Ag Deposit in Arizona. The Company is currently exploring the high-grade Buckingham Gold Vein in central Virginia and is in advanced stages of negotiation on other lands with high-grade copper potential in the area.

The Company and its joint venture partners, American West Metals Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tornado Metals Ltd. (collectively, " American West ") have agreed to form a 20/80 unincorporated joint venture and enter into a joint venture agreement in respect of the Storm Project property, which hosts the Storm Copper Project and the Seal Zinc Deposit. Under such agreement, Aston Bay shall have a free carried interest until American West has made a decision to mine upon completion of a bankable feasibility study, meaning American West will be solely responsible for funding the joint venture until such decision is made. After such decision is made, Aston Bay will be diluted in the event it does not elect to contribute its proportionate share and its interest in the Storm Project property will be converted into a 2% net smelter returns royalty if its interest is diluted to below 10%.

About American West Metals Limited

AMERICAN WEST METALS LIMITED (ASX: AW1) is an Australian clean energy mining company focused on growth through the discovery and development of major base metal mineral deposits in Tier 1 jurisdictions of North America. Our strategy is focused on developing mines that have a low-footprint and support the global energy transformation. Our portfolio of copper and zinc projects in Utah and Canada include significant existing resource inventories and high-grade mineralization that can generate robust mining proposals. Core to our approach is our commitment to the ethical extraction and processing of minerals and making a meaningful contribution to the communities where our projects are located.

Led by a highly experienced leadership team, our strategic initiatives lay the foundation for a sustainable business which aims to deliver high-multiplier returns on shareholder investment and economic benefits to all stakeholders.

For further information on American West, visit:


Statements made in this news release, including those regarding entering into the joint venture and each party's interest in the Project pursuant to the agreement in respect of the joint venture, management objectives, forecasts, estimates, expectations, or predictions of the future may constitute "forward-looking statement", which can be identified by the use of conditional or future tenses or by the use of such verbs as "believe", "expect", "may", "will", "should", "estimate", "anticipate", "project", "plan", and words of similar import, including variations thereof and negative forms. This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect, as of the date of this press release, Aston Bay's expectations, estimates and projections about its operations, the mining industry and the economic environment in which it operates. Statements in this press release that are not supported by historical fact are forward-looking statements, meaning they involve risk, uncertainty and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although Aston Bay believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which apply only at the time of writing of this press release. Aston Bay disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by securities legislation.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its regulation services provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

For more information contact:

Thomas Ullrich, Chief Executive Officer
(416) 456-3516

SOURCE: Aston Bay Holdings Ltd

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