Could Mandrake be a Chalice Gold v2.0?
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Special Report: Mandrake Resources’ hopes of replicating the exploration success of Chalice Gold Mines in the Jimperding Metamorphic Belt a short drive north-east of Perth have been boosted by the receipt of surface rock chip results confirming the presence of platinum group elements (PGEs) at the Newleyine prospect.
The Jimperding Belt shot to prominence in March this year when Chalice announced an intercept of 19m at 2.6% nickel, 1.0% copper, 8.4 g/t palladium and 1.1 g/t platinum from a maiden drilling program at its Julimar project.
With the discovery suggesting a new nickel-copper-PGE province for WA, Mandrake (ASX: MAN) was one of the early movers to pounce on ground in the region, farming into the Jimperding project, 30km east of Julimar, in mid-April.
Historic drilling at Newleyine, which lies within the Jimperding project, had confirmed the presence of widespread nickel-copper-iron sulphide mineralisation, but the prospect had never been assayed for PGEs.
Mandrake said this morning that the rock chips collected in the first field programme conducted by the company at Newleyine had returned results of up to 0.36 g/t palladium and 0.27 g/t platinum, exceeding its expectations.
The samples also confirmed the presence of nickel and copper in concentrations consistent with previous drill results and surface geochemistry.
“The Julimar discovery has uncovered a previously unrecognised Ni-Cu-PGE province on the doorstep of Perth and Mandrake’s recent surface results demonstrate the potential for a similar mineralisation style at Newleyine,” managing director James Allchurch said.
“Our confidence in Newleyine has grown and given us added impetus to proceed to the next step in our exploration approach.
“We will now commence planning of electromagnetic geophysical surveys to identify drill targets within the ultramafic rocks hosting this distinctive NI-Cu-PGE metal signature.”
The results were produced from an initial sampling programme at Newleyine aimed at characterising the various rock and regolith types within the prospect.
A second field programme has since taken place focused more on mapping and sampling the prospective ultramafic rocks, with 52 samples collected.
Results from the second programme will be received and interpreted in coming weeks, after which Mandrake plans to undertake one or more electromagnetic surveys with a view to identifying EM conductors for drill testing.
Under the agreement announced in April, Mandrake is required to spend $100,000 on exploration to earn a 51% interest in the 140km2 Jimperding tenement. It can increase its interest to 80% by spending a further $200,000.
The company remains a cheap exposure to the emerging province, with a market capitalisation of less than $7 million before today and $3.45 million in cash at the end of March.