Auroch marches on with Saints nickel hunt
WA-based explorer, Auroch Minerals has hit the go button on 5000 metres of resource extension diamond drilling at its Saints nickel project north of Kalgoorlie as it works towards a scoping study it is planning to announce in March.
The company’s drill rigs are peppering the Saint Patricks and Saint Andrews prospects, including possible strike and down-plunge extensions to the existing high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation at Saints.
By the end of the six-week program, Auroch plans to update the current JORC-compliant Saints mineral resource estimate, or “MRE” of 1.02 million tonnes at 2.0 per cent nickel for 21,400 tonnes of contained nickel and move those numbers from an inferred resource to predominantly indicated resources category.
It has earmarked 2,000m of drilling to test for possible strike and down-plunge extensions to the Saints orebody, particularly below the Saint Andrews Prospect.
The company is looking for extensions of the mineralised lava channel where drill hole geochemistry indicates hotter ultramafic rocks at depth, whilst concurrently reviewing historic down-hole electromagnetic, or “DHEM” data for additional geological pointers.
A pair of drill-holes specifically designed to collect large bulk composite samples for metallurgical test work is also on the Saints program.
We are very pleased to have kicked off a major diamond drill programme at Saints. The infill drilling is critical to increasing the confidence in the MRE to a predominantly Indicated Resource category so that it can underpin the current Saints Scoping Study due to be completed at the end of March.
It will also provide necessary bulk samples to initiate the metallurgical testwork that is also critical information for the completion of the study.
The planned concurrent exploration drilling will test down-plunge from the known high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation at the Saint Patricks and Saint Andrews prospects as the search continues fo the feeder lava channel to this nickel-rich system and of course, the nickel sulphide mineralisation that is associated with such channels in Kambalda-style nickel deposits such as the Saints!
Auroch said the scoping study is progressing well with site flora and fauna surveys completed, miscellaneous licence applications for the future haul road location submitted and mine design and optimisation well underway.
The WA drilling program complements the activity already underway at Auroch’s Arden copper zinc project where it is on the hunt for sedimentary-exhalative, or “SEDEX” mineralisation at the Ragless Range prospect.
Two rigs have been swung into action as Auroch strives to make up for delays from challenging ground conditions caused by bad weather that impacted in December.
Earlier hits at Ragless Range intersected 12.8m at 4.96 per cent zinc from 53m including 3.65m at 15.47 per cent zinc from 62.15m.
Auroch recently flagged a return to its 80 per cent-owned Nepean nickel project in Western Australia that lies roughly 25 kilometres south of the township of Coolgardie and contains the historic high-grade Nepean nickel sulphide mine. It also contains some recently identified lithium hits to add to the mix.
The Nepean mine was Australia’s second producing nickel mine, yielding 1.108 million tons of ore between 1970 and 1987 for 32,202 tonnes of nickel metal at an average recovered grade of 2.99 per cent. The total area of the project tenure is 3,128 hectares located in a highly fertile region for both nickel and gold mineralisation.
Regional sampling of pegmatite veins has also recently unearthed significant lithium mineralisation grading up to 1.05 per cent lithium. Interestingly, the northern portion of the project lies adjacent to known historical lithium and tantalum workings from the Londonderry pegmatite deposits.
Auroch has no shortages of targets to grow the company’s inventory and with three rigs on the go there will be no shortage of opportunity to produce plenty of newsfeed as the results start to flow back in.
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