Ardea confirms high-grade nickel-cobalt at Goongarrie

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Matt BirneySponsored
Ardea Resources Kalgoorlie Nickel Project area
Camera IconArdea Resources Kalgoorlie Nickel Project area Credit: File

Diamond drill core at Ardea’s Goongarrie South nickel-cobalt deposit has confirmed the presence of high-grade and near surface nickel-cobalt mineralisation in a highly successful metallurgical drilling program. The pace and complexity of the work currently underway by Ardea suggests the company has its ears pinned back in a determined charge to get the Kalgoorlie Nickel Program into full scale mining.

The company has delivered an assortment of drilling intercepts all pointing to widespread and near surface mineralisation at the project including 26 metres at 1.33 per cent nickel and 0.029 per cent cobalt from 22m and 26m at 0.75 per cent nickel and 0.032 per cent cobalt from 66m.

In a second core hole drilling returned an eye-catching 58m at 1.03 per cent nickel and 0.065per cent cobalt from 48m which included 38m at 1.21 per cent nickel and 0.087 per cent cobalt from 66m. Significantly, according to the company the information gained from the drilling program validate the mineralisation models used in generating the Goongarrie South Mineral Resource Estimate.

Underscoring Ardea’s plans to fast track development at the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project, the company has also drawn up plans for the mine pits at Goongarrie South to act as the base load feed source for the proposed nickel-cobalt processing plant at the project.

The drill program, completed between late August and early October 2021, provided drill-core test material needed for three key Kalgoorlie Nickel Project processing circuits, being High Pressure Acid Leach, Atmospheric Leach and Mineralised Neutraliser, as required for the low carbon flowsheet.

The Metallurgical Core Drilling backs-up the resource estimation Feasibility Study programs completed in mid-2021.

Additional, deeper cores cut during the program to test for underlying gold resources also confirmed strong gold pathfinder anomalism despite the absence of any significant gold intercepts.

The Goongarrie Hub mineral resource estimate with a a 0.5 per cent nickel cut-off grade clocks in at 556 million tonnes at 0.68 per cent nickel and 0.045 per cent cobalt for 3.8 million tonnes of nickel and 248,000 tonnes of cobalt.

The Goongarrie South contribution to the Hub at a 0.5 per cent nickel cut-off grade is 110 million tonnes at 0.75 per cent nickel and 0.053 per cent cobalt for 800,000 tonnes of nickel and 58,000 tonnes of cobalt.

The Goongarrie South deposit, located 70km northwest of Kalgoorlie, contains the greatest concentration of the premium goethite mineralisation within the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project and is fast shaping up as a jewel in the crown for Adrea. Goongarrie South was the mainstay of Ardea’s previous Pre-feasibility and Expansion Study and was the “centre of gravity” of the Mineral Resource Estimate with the highest nickel and cobalt grades.

With the unique Goongarrie geological model seemingly confirmed yet again, the company is now eagerly anticipating bench-scale metallurgical laboratory results as a control for the highly anticipated Goongarrie mining program.

The Goongarrie South core drilling was a further field test of the KNP low-carbon flowsheet model. The program tested well below the depth of historic RC drilling. It was important for confirming the expectation that premium goethite nickel-cobalt mineralisation would be located in the deeply weathered V-shaped structure at Goongarrie South. This structure hosts a premium High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) feed. Importantly, the high-magnesium mineralisation on the western contact of the deep V is targeted as an Atmospheric Leach (AL) feed

With the unique Goongarrie geological model yet again confirmed, we continue to await the results of the ALS benchscale metallurgy from Highway, as a control for the waiting Goongarrie program. These results will feed into ongoing DFS work flows and continue to enhance the KNP Goongarrie Hub as a globally significant source of sustainable and ethical nickel-cobalt for the lithium-ion battery sector.

Ardea Resources Managing Director, Andrew Penkethman

The Goongarrie South resource provides materials for all three of the key project processing circuits required to achieve the planned low carbon flowsheet. With a planned feed rate of 3.5 million tonnes per annum, Goongarrie South is the heart of the project immediately adjacent to the proposed plant site.

Australia currently boasts the second largest reserves of both nickel and cobalt in the world and whilst Ardea still sits within the ASX small cap community, the ongoing development of its Kalgoorlie Nickel Program is starting to turn a few heads.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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