Auroch’s goal of developing a potential open pit mine at its Nepean project has received a leg up with the definition of a 3,625t contained nickel resource for just the known shallow mineralisation.

This is further supported by having about half of the 236,000t resource grading 1.5% nickel and 0.11% copper in the higher confidence Indicated category, which lends itself to mine planning.

Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) adds that it can increase the proportion of Indicated resources with minimal additional drilling, however the resource as it stands is enough to form the basis for pit optimisations and mine studies as part of the Nepean Scoping Study.

Metallurgical testwork has already found that the shallow high-grade Nepean ore responds well to conventional flotation beneficiation with nickel recoveries between 85% to 94% reporting to saleable concentrates with grades in excess of 13% nickel.

The depths below

Adding further interest, while the resource includes most of the crown pillar of the historical Nepean underground nickel mine, it is limited to a depth of about 120m from surface (the 290mRL level) and does not include the significant high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation that exists below the 290mRL level.

“Whilst we know there exists significant high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation at depth in and around the historic underground mine workings, we are currently focussed on the shallow nickel mineralisation above and around the old mine that could potentially be mined in an open-pit scenario,” managing director Aidan Platel said.

“Now that we have successfully modelled this small but significant shallow nickel resource, we can commence mine studies and design as part of the Nepean Scoping Study that will assess the potential to fast-track the project towards development and production from a future open pit mining scenario.”

Upcoming drilling

Auroch expects to start reverse circulation drilling targeting the high-priority induced polarisation target at Nepean North next week.

Platel noted that the IP target aligns with the footwall of a high-magnesium ultramafic, which further increases its potential to represent nickel sulphide mineralisation.

The two hole program is aimed at intersecting the peak chargeability of this IP target and may be expanded to include additional drill-holes if deemed necessary.




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.