Auroch Minerals is closing in on one of its top targets in a major diamond drilling drive beneath the historic Nepean nickel mine.

Auroch (ASX:AOU) is testing the uppermost of three EM conductors identified from downhole EM surveys in the first hole at the Nepean Deeps target.

Its second hole at the Nepean Deeps, believed to have similarities to Western Areas’ rich Flying Fox mine in WA, has now crossed 300m, with navigational drilling now being undertaken to ensure the deep drill hole hits its mark.

The hole is expected to hit the modelled 1A/1B plates at 550m downhole.

It is the uppermost of three priority targets identified in the first drill hole.

The conductors are located west of, and adjacent to, the historic Nepean nickel mine workings and may correlate to a prospective komatiitic ultramafic unit intersected by the initial drill-hole, making it a compelling target for nickel sulphide mineralisation.

Nepean produced 32,202t of nickel metal at a grade of 2.99% between 1970 and 1987, but has never before been tested with modern exploration techniques or at the depths Auroch is assessing.

“We are very pleased with the progress we are making on all fronts at Nepean,” Auroch managing director Aidan Platel said.

“The Deeps drill programme is advancing nicely, with the second hole approximately halfway to target depth to test a compelling target for potential nickel sulphide mineralisation near the historic mine workings.”

Lithium, regional drilling and metallurgical drilling all progressing     

While the hunt for riches hidden deep below the historic mine may be the most compelling story at Nepean, plenty of other high quality exploration is taking place.

And Auroch is well stocked from a recent $8 million placement to fund ongoing exploration activities at Nepean and its nickel and base metals projects in Australia.

Three large diameter diamond drill holes have been drilled by Auroch for bulk sample material for the internal Nepean scoping study.

Mineralised intersections of disseminated, matrix and massive nickel sulphides have been submitted to consultants Strategic Metallurgy Pty Ltd to initiate the metallurgical testwork.

Platel described this as a ‘fundamental component’ of the scoping study.

Meanwhile, further exploration has been undertaken to assess the lithium-cesium-tantalum potential of the pegmatite units in the Nepean project area, located not far from MinRes and Ganfeng’s Mt Marion lithium mine.

Core samples from the first Nepean Deeps drill-hole have been submitted to the laboratory for assaying, and field investigations of mapped pegmatites in the northern portion of the project tenure have begun.

Outcropping and subcropping pegmatites to the north and east of the historic Lepidolite Hill and Londonderry pegmatite mines, which are owned by third parties, were given priority.

Samples were collected from five locations and included rock chips sourced from float, subcrop and outcrop.

The assays for the final five drill holes in a regional RC program around the Nepean mine have also been received.

The results will be used to prioritise regional targets for upcoming exploration and drill programmes.

“On the regional exploration front, we now have all assays and DHEM back from our last regional drilling campaign, which has generated some compelling targets to be followed up by the next phase of drilling,” Platel said.

“On top of all that, we are continuing to assess the ground for potential LCT mineralisation, with ongoing mapping and sampling revealing several prospective pegmatites that warrant further investigation.”



This article was developed in collaboration with Auroch Minerals, 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.