Auroch Minerals has uncovered a hidden and potentially rich secret after finding lithium mineralisation at its Nepean nickel project.

One of the Goldfields’ historic nickel mines, Nepean is the latest to reveal its surprise turn as a lithium domain after regional sampling of pegmatite veins by Auroch (ASX:AOU) revealed grades of 1.05% Li.

A number of locales in the rich mining area around Kalgoorlie host significant lithium deposits as rising demand makes the commodity one of the most sought after in the world.

Auroch picked up Nepean for its historic success in delivering high grade nickel sulphides dating back to the nickel boom of the late 1960s. But evidence of lithium on its ground adds another string to AOU’s battery metals bow.

It is now planning to reassay samples from RC holes near the pegmatite for lithium-caesium-tantalum mineralisation.

“The assay results have confirmed that the Nepean tenure hosts significant potential for LCT mineralisation, particularly for lithium,” Auroch managing director Aidan Platel said.

“We are excited by this prospect and have already commenced work on understanding the orientation and extent of the LCT -bearing pegmatites.

“Further mapping is required to better define the surface expression of the veins, whilst sampling of pegmatites intersected in nearby drill-holes may provide us with an understanding of the pegmatites in 3D space.”

The results come from field investigations assessing the LCT potential of the northern part of the Nepean tenure, where outcropping and sub-cropping pegmatites to the north and east of the third-party Lepidolite Hill and Londonderry pegmatite mines were given priority.

Samples were collected from float, sub-crop and outcrop in five locations.

More fieldwork will be undertaken to map and define the pegmatites, with reassaying of RC holes located close to the rock chip samples along with core samples containing pegmatite  from the first Nepean Deeps drillhole, both of which are still pending.

Auroch Minerals
Holes near the rock chip samples will now be reassayed for LCT mineralisation. Pic: Auroch Minerals

Nepean Deeps complete

Auroch has also completed the second, 754m deep, drill hole into the Nepean Deeps target, testing conductors beneath and to the west of historic workings at the Nepean mine.

Hole NPDD013 successfully intersected 12.5m of disseminated and matrix to semi-massive nickel sulphides from 576.8m, within a 76.15m intersection of ultramafics from 534.65m to 610.80m downhole.

It is interpreted to be the underexplored Sill 1 ultramafic directly west of the Nepean mine sequence.

Nickeliferous sulphides were intersected just below and are believed to be the cause of down-hole electromagnetic conductor 1A/1B, the uppermost of three DHEM targets identified by the first Nepean Deeps drill-hole, NPDD008.

While Auroch waits for assays, the diamond drill rig is moving to test regional targets.

“On the nickel sulphide front, the drill rig completed diamond hole NPDD013 to a depth of 754.45m, and assays are pending,” Platel said.

“The rig has moved to drill exciting targets at the Little Eagle, Spoonbill and Cormorant Prospects before the drilling campaign finishes for 2021, with the Nepean Deeps drill programme to recommence in the new year.”

Busy holiday season for Auroch

Auroch has a number of exploration activities upcoming to keep news flow coming over the festive season, with that regional drill program and an induced polarisation under way at Nepean.

Metallurgical test work results on the shallow high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation proximal to the historic Nepean nickel mine workings are also expected in early January.

Assay results on the pegmatite samples from Nepean Deeps hole NPDD008 and the nickel sulphide samples from NPDD013 are expected this month.

Outside of Nepean Auroch expects to complete a diamond drill programme at the Ragless Range zinc prospect in the Arden Project this month, with infill and extensional diamond drilling at the Saints nickel project north of Kalgoorlie to start in early January.

A scoping study for Saints is due to be completed in the March Quarter.




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.