Australian exploration company Mt Isa Metals has started drilling operations at its Barbara Copper Prospect, 50km north-east of Mt Isa.

The drilling will test high-grade sulphide copper mineralisation and evaluate the dip extensions to the known copper deposit within the West Leichardt Joint Venture (WLJV), formed between Mt Isa and Syndicated Metals.

Barbara is one of the two tenements of the Leichardt Project and a part of the WLJV.

In October 2008 Syndicated announced inferred mineral resource had been found outside the WLJV tenement boundary but within the Barbara structure.

The present drilling programme aims to test mineralisation within the WLJV and beneath a gossanous copper outcrop along strike to the north-west.

The programme includes 1,300m of diamond and reverse circulation drilling in seven holes.

The assay results are expected in July.