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Southern Hemisphere may have taken a major step forward in its bid to crank up the grades at its Llahuin copper and gold project in Chile.

The WA-based junior last month announced a maiden resource for Llahuin of 106.2 million tonnes, but at just 0.4 per cent copper equivalent for 318,000t copper and 307,000oz of gold.

That grade suffers in comparison to Southern Hemisphere’s local counterpart, Hot Chili which, as Spinifex has pointed out, has 85.1mt at a superior 0.87 per cent at its Productora project in Chile.

But we hear word that the lads at Southern Hemisphere are all aflutter over the latest results from in-fill and extensional drilling over Llahuin, 250km north of Santiago.

The gossip is that one diamond drill hole has returned a ripping intersection suggesting the presence of a high-grade zone, which potentially could make a major difference to Llahuin’s overall grade.

The results, which are expected to be divulged today, will reinforce Southern Hemisphere’s decision to shelve its Los Pumas manganese deposit in Chile to focus on Llahuin and its satellite deposits at Mina San Francisco and La Colina 2. It may also tweak some interest in the company’s little-traded shares, which have halved since February to 15¢.

Doral livens up Matilda

Matilda Zircon chairman Mal Randall describes it as “a game-changer”.

There’s no doubt yesterday’s confirmation of Spinfex’s disclosure on Monday of a tie-up with Japanese group Doral is a major fillip to Matilda’s Keysbrook minerals sands deposit, south of Perth.

The alliance delivers Matilda a an immediate $US4.5 million cash loan with which to complete a feasibility study over Keysbrook. Subject to a positive assessment, the project will be in development by year’s end and in production by next year, in 2013, turning out 10,000 tonnes of zircon and 70,000 tonnes of leucoxene a year.

Significantly, Doral will save Matilda the cost of building its own plant by treating Keysbrook’s production at its Picton plant and is more than likely to exercise its option to take up to 15 per cent of the WA company.

sean.smith@wanews.com.au