Cavalier Resources is expanding its highly prospective Leonora ground with the planned addition of a new nickel project that is already revealing its sulphide and laterite potential and is just a stone’s throw from Glencore’s underfed Murrin Murrin nickel plant.  

An initial desktop review undertaken by Cavalier Resources (ASX:CVR) of the Maleta Creek nickel-cobalt project in Leonora, Western Australia has highlighted numerous nickel sulphide, nickel laterite and gold targets.

Although the Maleta Creek project lease is still in the application phase, Cavalier is the sole applicant, providing confidence the project will be added to the stable of prospective Leonora projects already held by the company.

The project sits less than 10km west of Glencore’s Murrin Murrin nickel-cobalt operation, which comprises one of the largest acid plants in the southern hemisphere and one that needs more ore. Glencore is now turning to the juniors to help utilise its spare processing capacity.

Location of the Maleta Creek project in proximity to Murrin Murrin. Pic: Supplied.

The Leonora region has become a hotbed of activity in recent times, with a number of notable M&A deals playing out including Genesis Minerals’ (ASX:GMD) takeover of Dacian Gold (ASX:DCN) and planned merger with St Barbara (ASX:SBM).

Vast untapped potential

Executive Technical Director Daniel Tuffin said multiple nickel sulphide and nickel laterite targets within the Maleta Creek project area remained largely untested by drilling, while documented historic near-surface nickel occurrences had little follow up within the past decade.

“With advances in processing of surficial nickel ores and being strategically located on the doorstep of the Murrin Murrin nickel processing plant, these drill targets and surface occurrences now become compelling objectives for future evaluation,” he said.

“The large datasets of historic geophysical and geochemical surveys being compiled will allow the company to rapidly commence exploration on well defined, drill ready targets, once the lease is granted.”

Previous exploration was undertaken by Eagle Eye Metals, now Firefinch (ASX:FFX), and Celsius Resources (ASX:CLA), with both identifying prospective nickel targets that were never followed up with drilling.

Eagle Eye reported a surface anomaly of about 400m x 100m averaging 250 parts per million (ppm) nickel at the Kaikoura prospect.

Historic RAB drilling targeting the laterite nickel-cobalt potential of the ultramafic rocks in the area returned the highest average grades of 1,500ppm nickel and 100ppm cobalt from within the peridotite portion of the sill.

Samples taken from the bottom 80m of the sill also showed enhanced copper, platinum and palladium values ranging between 200 to 250ppm copper and 35 to 100ppm combined platinum and palladium.

Celsius, meanwhile, was focused on the nickel sulphide potential and its exploration efforts uncovered several prospective areas of interest, including the Corkscrew and Central targets, following the completion of air and ground surveys.

Cavalier says the numerous targets identified could be potential southern extensions of the nearby historic Waite Kauri nickel-cobalt project.


Maleta Creek project application area displaying ultramafic targets. Pic: Supplied

Open file data sourced from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety indicates the presence of substantial strike length of ultramafic volcanics, prospective for nickel mineralisation.

The tenement area is covered by recent alluvial cover which would mask any laterite formed by weathering of these units.

The motivation for Cavalier to apply for the Meleta Creek project was to bolster its nickel focus, with the promising patch of ground intended to further complement the company’s existing Ella’s Rock nickel, lithium, and gold project in Forrestania.

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that nickel is in big demand thanks to its usefulness in batteries.

“Given the prevailing high forecasts on nickel prices, along with the outlook for increased demand arising from battery and other new energy requirements, we are excited with this latest application,” Tuffin said.

“We look forward to progressing Maleta Creek through the application process and getting boots on the ground once this process is complete.”

This story was developed in collaboration with Cavalier Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.