There are few doubts in the quality of the resource at Auroch Minerals’ Saints Nickel Project near Kalgoorlie, as the final assays from drilling at the deposit confirmed its high grade nature.

All drillholes from a major infill drilling program at Saints intersected nickeliferous massive or semi-massive sulphides, the two forms of sulphide mineralisation with the highest penetration of high grade metals.

Auroch’s (ASX:AOU) Saints deposit already boasts a resource of 1.02Mt at 2% nickel for 21,400t of contained nickel.

But the current drilling campaign has lifted the prospects of converting a sizeable chunk of that from the lower confidence inferred to the high confidence indicated category.

That means the resource can be converted to a mineable reserve, depending on the economic parameters, and the process is looking pretty good at the moment with infill drilling confirming the high nickel and copper grades of the Saints deposit.

Highlights include:

  • SNDD021: 3.01m at 5.23% Ni, 0.69% Cu, 0.77g/t PGE from 177.08m
  • SNDD023: 2.40m at 2.10% Ni, 0.14% Cu, 0.09% Co, 0.36g/t PGE from 263.78m and 2.21m at 4.30% Ni, 0.37% Cu, 0.13% Co, 0.58g/t PGE from 268.18m
  • SNDD016: 1.00m @ 5.16% Ni, 0.06% Cu, 0.09% Co, 0.56g/t PGE from 73.10m; and,
  • SNDD020: 1.62m @ 3.92% Ni, 0.42% Cu, 0.11% Co, 0.70g/t PGE from 217.35m.

Test work makes the dream work 

That new resource estimate is expected in the next four to six weeks, a critical step in Auroch’s Saints Scoping Study.

But other study streams have been equally promising, with the company receiving excellent interim results from met test work on the nickel sulphide mineralisation at Saints.

Strategic Metallurgy has completed a first pass test on bulk composite samples from both the Saint Patricks and Saint Andrews deposits.

Using the traditional flow sheet of high grade Kambalda style nickel sulphide mines, both samples produced concentrate grades over 14% with initial concentrate grades of up to 24% nickel and 5% copper.

The iron ore magnesium ratios of more than 10 and 22 respectively are also good, with cobalt recoveries of more than 0.5% and no arsenic.

Test work will now focus on improving recoveries by keeping more nickel from going into tailings, with final results due in four to six weeks in line with the resource estimate.

“We are extremely encouraged with the initial results from the metallurgical testwork at Saints. The tests have shown that the sulphide mineralisation at both Saint Patricks and Saint Andrews can produce a very clean, high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt concentrate with excellent Fe:MgO ratios, which would make it a desirable ore source for any nickel sulphide beneficiation facility in the region,” Auroch MD Aiden Platel said.

“We are also pleased to have commenced work on upgrading the MRE at Saints.

“These two work streams will provide critical inputs into the Saints Scoping Study and, importantly, will result in a higher level of confidence in our financial modelling of the potential underground mining scenario at Saints.

“We look forward to the results of this work and to finalising the Scoping Study later this 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.