Alliance Nickel is starting aircore and diamond drilling to support completion of the Definitive Feasibility Study and development of its NiWest nickel-cobalt project in WA.

The infill aircore program at the Mt Kilkenny deposit is designed to underpin a further increase in Ore Reserves, which currently sits at 64.9Mt grading 0.91% nickel and 0.06% cobalt.

Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN) is also planning to carry out diamond core geotechnical drilling program for the mining and processing areas, and to use the aircore rig to complete a sterilisation program in areas where major process and non-process infrastructure will be located.

“The NiWest Project team has built significant momentum as we complete the detailed technical workstreams required to underpin an investment decision,” managing director Paul Kopejtka said.

“We are on track to complete these programs this year and deliver a robust DFS.”

Drilling plans

The six week aircore drill program will initially focus on Mt Kilkenny, which will be the first deposit mined at NiWest, to upgrade a portion of the current Inferred resource to support future reserve conversion and deliver increased geological confidence in the early stage of the mine plan.

Meanwhile, the geotechnical diamond drill program will be completed in the Mt Kilkenny mine pit site as well as on the proposed sites for the heap leach pads and battery sulphate refinery.

Samples for all drilling programs will be transported to Perth, where relevant material characterisation testwork will be undertaken.

Detailed metallurgical testwork to finalise leaching characteristics is currently being undertaken on ore samples generated during the previous sonic drilling program, completed in the December quarter 2022.

NiWest project

NiWest is an advanced project with a large, high-grade laterite resource of 85.2 million tonnes grading 1.03% nickel and 0.065% cobalt containing 878kt of nickel and 55.4kt of cobalt.

The Pre-Feasibility Study completed last year confirmed the technical and financial merits of the development of a stand-alone processing facility to treat the NiWest deposits.

Its processing flowsheet involves two-stage crushing followed by commercially proven, lower-risk, lower-capital intensity heap leaching, coupled with highly efficient direct solvent extraction.

This process route has been tested by the Alliance over many years with extensive metallurgical testwork and pilot processing which has successfully produced battery grade nickel (Class 1) and cobalt sulphate products from NiWest ore.

The unique metallurgical characteristics of the NiWest ore makes it amenable to heap leaching and thus avoids the elevated technical risks and capital costs associated with the use of High Pressure Acid Leaching




This article was developed in collaboration with Alliance Nickel, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.