As Chalice scales record highs on its monster Julimar resource, how are its nearologist friends going?
There are few stories on the ASX right now more exciting than Chalice Mining’s discovery of the Julimar complex in Western Australia.
That one of the world’s largest deposits of palladium, platinum and nickel was sitting just 70km northeast of Perth, the mining world’s corporate heartland, for hundreds of years beggars belief.
Yet here we are absorbing the news that Julimar’s Gonneville has at least 10Moz of platinum, palladium and gold, 530,000t of nickel, 330,000t of copper and 53,000t of cobalt, hiding just metres beneath farmland near Toodyay.
With an election on the way, even the Federal Government are jumping aboard the backslapping.
“Chalice has stated publicly this work by Geoscience Australia was the catalyst for the company to acquire prospective ground holdings northeast of Perth,” Resources Minister Keith Pitt said in a statement yesterday.
“Investing in precompetitive data acquisition is a long-term game, but this case study shows how it can pay off.
“This announcement by Chalice clearly shows how pre-competitive data from Geoscience Australia can lead to discovery by industry.
“Since the nickel, copper and platinum group sulphides potential map of Australia was released, more than 27,000 square kilometres of tenement has been taken up in the Julimar area, with nearly $38 million spent on exploration this year alone.”
Chalice has also succeeded by connecting with the green metals narrative, with nickel, copper and cobalt all prized for their use in EVs, batteries and renewable infrastructure and platinum and palladium key materials in the electrolysers used to turn water into hydrogen in the production of renewable green hydrogen.
What is exciting not just Chalice but mining industry experts, is the prospect this could be more than just one discovery.
Julimar is located on the western margin of the Yilgarn Craton, an area under farmland and forest not thought to have been as prospective as the gold and nickel rich deserts of the Eastern Goldfields.
Chalice itself has used its first mover advantage to tie up around 8000km2 of tenure along this geological feature.
The Julimar complex alone is around 26km long according to geological mapping completed by Chalice. At 1.9km by 900m long (and ~600m deep) the Gonneville resource accounts for just 7% of that strike.
Chalice has only drilled so far on farmland it now owns and is eagerly awaiting approvals to conduct “low impact drilling” in the Julimar State Forest.
“It’s opened up what we call the Western margin of the Yilgarn Craton,” geologist Jon Hronsky of Western Mining Services and a director of nearby explorer Caspin Resources (ASX:CPN) told Stockhead.
“So the Darling Range, if you drive from Perth up into the hills, there’s a mountain near the Darling Fault and that’s where the margin is, the Yilgarn Craton which are these older rocks are typically more mineralised than where Perth is.
“There’s a lot of stuff in the eastern part of the Yilgarn that’s Kalgoorlie, Kambalda, but on the western margin it was considered relatively unprospective.
“But partly, that’s because it’s not very well exposed. And I think what this discovery does is really open up that belt.”
Chalice’s Alex Dorsch is already talking up its potential as a future nickel, copper and PGE province like Canada’s Thompson Belt and Voisey’s Bay, Russia’s Norilsk and China’s Jinchuan.
“They’re located in a very similar geological position to Julimar, so we think just given that it is so sparsely explored that Western margin of the Yilgarn, we think there’s a strong potential for additional Julimar-like discoveries,” he said on a conference call.
“We’ve already identified hundreds of intrusions along that 1200km of craton margin, and we’re already going about drill testing them.
“So we’ve got an aircore drill rig working for us at the moment in Barra Barra and that’s about 300km north of Julimar.
“We’re also doing some work in the South West with geophysics and flying a huge amount of airborne EM over Julimar and Barra Barra, later this quarter.
“So we think really, this is where this could become very significant for the industry and the state (of WA) is that this discovery is really a province defining discovery, and hopefully the years ahead host many more of those.”
There are no guarantees Julimar will turn into a new minerals province, as so many hope.
The Nova nickel, Gruyere gold and DeGrussa copper discoveries spawned much excitement over the past decade or so in WA, but none have so far delivered a follow up find of note.
That has not stopped a veritable rush of explorers to the district hoping to make a find on some good old nearology (though all will tell you there’s more foundation behind their claims than that).
A quick review of companies on the ASX with major or side projects in the Julimar and West Yilgarn regions yesterday turned up close to 20 companies.
More are in the wings, with IPO hopefuls like Lycaon Resources also boasting projects in the region, while other ground is held by privateers.
Chalice obviously, which rose 28.5% on the day of the announcement and climbed to an all time high of $9.95 yesterday before dropping back to $9.13, a ~5% gain.
In a little over 18 months Chalice has risen around 60 times to a market cap of more than $3 billion, making Gonneville a true company maker.
But other Chalice adjacent stocks also posted solid gains on Tuesday’s news, which filtered through into yesterday’s trade.
DevEX Resources (ASX:DEV) was the strongest performer of the cohort yesterday.
Up 82% over the past year, DevEX rose 14.3% to 40c yesterday after announcing visual observations of disseminated nickel and copper sulphides in drilling at its 12km long Sovereign mafic-ultramafic intrusion.
Something else is likely to pique investors’ interest about DevEX. Its chairman is Tim Goyder, the same man who has stewarded Chalice and lithium explorer Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) into positions as two of the ASX’s best performing stocks over the past year.
The visual indications come from the first two stratigraphic holes at Sovereign, which sits immediately to the north of Chalice’s Gonneville discovery.
“We are methodically ticking the boxes towards what we all hope will be a game-changing discovery at Sovereign,” DevEX managing director Brendan Bradley said.
“The outcomes of these two widely-spaced stratigraphic holes have exceeded our expectations and given us confidence that we are very much on the right track with our exploration approach.
“In addition to confirming the presence of the right intrusive host sequence over significant widths, we have intersected nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in Hole 2 – which is a remarkable result for what was essentially stratigraphic drilling to understand the framework of just a small part of the intrusion.
“While we caution investors that the broad disseminated mineralised intervals encountered in this hole are likely to be low-grade, seeing the iron-nickel-copper sulphides both as disseminated and in narrow matrix textured bands is an exciting development which suggests that this is very much a ‘live’ system capable of hosting economic mineralisation.”
Immediately north of DevEX is Caspin Resources, which counts Chalice as one of its top shareholders.
Cassini Resources spin-out Caspin mooned to more than $2.50 briefly in late May after posting exploration updates from its Yarawindah Brook project and Yarabrook Hill prospect.
That project is located about 40km north of Julimar and within the same host rocks, and were in the Cassini portfolio before Chalice made the Gonneville find.
Initial results from a 3000m RC program at Yarabrook Hill returned a hit of 263m at 0.24g/t Pd, Pt and Au, 0.11% nickel and 0.13% copper with a peak value of 2m at 2.13g/t PGE, 0.33% Ni and 1.04% Cu from 46m.
However, CEO Greg Miles said more results needed to come in before they could be interpreted and understood.
Caspin, which restarted drilling last month, was up 6.7% to 80c yesterday.
Oar, up more than 9%, owns the Crown nickel-copper project around 8km west of Gonneville, which contains numerous magnetic features that are interpreted to represent mafic volcanic rocks considered to be highly prospective for Ni-Cu-PGE and gold mineralisation.
Pursuit, which rose 6.25% yesterday, recently drilled eight diamond drill holes for 1538m at the Phil’s Hill prospect, part of its Warrior project 20-50km to the north of Julimar.
Results for four of the holes were reported late last month, including silver mineralisation of up to 6.96g/t and anomalous gold, copper and nickel.
Mamba Exploration (ASX:M24) was also up around 3%, last week starting a ground-based EM survey at its Black Hills tenement in the Darling Range, around 30km from Gonneville, where drilling is due to begin in late November.
Other companies in the green yesterday with interests in the region included Liontown spin-out Minerals 260 (ASX:MI6), Todd River Resources (ASX:TRT), Emu NL (ASX:EMU), Mandrake Resources (ASX:MAN) and Magnetic Resources (ASX:MAU).
Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT), which brought nickel major IGO (ASX:IGO) on board in an $18 million, seven-year farm-in to its Broken Hill Ni-Cu-PGM project over in New South Wales on Tuesday was trading flat.
It owns the 1900km2 Arkun project 150km east of Perth, and plans to increase its focus there having recently identified targets prospective for lithium rare earths and nickel-copper-PGEs, alongside its Doonia gold project near Kambalda where drilling will begin in December.
Among the companies in the red yesterday were Burley Minerals (ASX:BUR), also an iron ore explorer which took a big dive along with iron ore futures, Lachlan Star (ASX:LSA), Charger Metals (ASX:CHR) and Anson Resources (ASX:ASN).
Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) was also down 4.17% after signing an MOU with Spanish vanadium redux flow battery maker E22, but its Coates project near Julimar sits very much behind its primary vanadium interests.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Impact Minerals, Mamba Exploration and Oar Resources are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.