West Desert is located in west-central Utah, approximately 160km southwest of Salt Lake City.
The deposit is part of a regional scale mineral system with multiple styles of mineralisation and potential for several deposits of base and precious metals.
Historical exploration has established a large porphyry related, zinc-polymetallic skarn and carbonate replacement deposit. A NI 43-101 compliant technical report issued by InZinc during 2014 estimated a resource of 59Mt @ 5.78% Zn Eq. for 1Mt Zn, 131Kt Cu, 1,534t Indium and 28Mt Iron.
The historical resource at West Desert includes a coherent and higher-grade core which we believe has potential to deliver a near-term, low-cost and high-margin development option. This high-grade portion of the deposit contains approximately 16.5Mt @ 6.3% Zn, 0.3% Cu and 33g/t In.
Additionally, the large oxide resource has not been included in prior development studies as insufficient metallurgical test work had been completed at the time to confirm the potential economics of this material, despite initial results achieving high recoveries and low acid consumption.
American West will undertake further studies to evaluate the high-grade and oxide scenarios which could potentially support a range of development options, including a smaller fit-for-purpose open pit and underground mining operation.
The mineralisation at West Desert is currently located within two distinct zones, the Main Zone and the Deep Zone, and these are open at depth, and along strike to the east and west.
Drilling by InZinc in 2018 to the west of the current resource envelope intersected additional high-grade mineralisation. These intersections have yet to be followed-up with further exploration and include 6.8m @ 16.5% Zn, 0.28% Cu from 141.5m and 15.4m @ 6.3% Zn, 0.42% Cu from 325.9m (WD18-05).
The historical resource does not include estimations of silver (Ag), gold (Au), molybdenum (Mo) and lead (Pb) – all of which occur in high grades and are widespread within the resource envelope, including 45.8m @ 124g/t Ag from 172.9m (drill hole C08-11).
Strategic Indium Resource
Indium is present in unusually high levels within Zinc minerals at West Desert.
The historical resource included an indium inventory of 1,534 tonnes contained metal, which is one of the largest undeveloped indium resources in the world.
Less than 35% of drill hole samples for the historical resource were assayed for indium, indicating potential to significantly increase the indium resource at West Desert with further sampling, exploration and studies.
Indium is widely used in the electronics and semiconductor industries for the use in low carbon technology including batteries.
The US Department of the Interior has included indium as one of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. Currently, the US is a 100% net importer of indium.
West Desert Exploration
West Desert is part of regional scale porphyry intrusive mineral system that has the potential to host multiple deposits of different mineralization styles. As such, there is potential for new discoveries to be made at the Project in addition to the existing historical PEA Resource.
West Desert is significantly underexplored with less than 10% of the project area explored with drilling.
Modern electromagnetics and gravity geophysical techniques have not been utilized for exploration at West Desert, providing potential for these modern exploration methods to identify additional mineralization.
American West has established a portfolio of exploration targets at West Desert which will be systematically tested using drilling and geophysics.
Logistics in Place
West Desert has an established camp comprising accommodation and work facilities that are suitable for exploration and feasibility work that American West intends to conduct.
West Desert has access to roads linking to major cities and rail hubs.
Infrastructure and utilities are established with electricity connected to the project site and long-term water rights in place.