The CSIRO is keen to partner up with more junior explorers in a bid to unlock the secrets of the nuggetty gold phenomenon that is sweeping the Pilbara.

The Western Pilbara region, south of Karratha in Western Australia, has attracted significant exploration interest due to the discovery of unique “watermelon” seed shaped coarse gold nuggets found at or close to surface over extensive strike lengths.

Artemis and Canadian partner Novo Resources were responsible for the initial discovery of the conglomerate-hosted gold.

The pair, however, have faced some early difficulties with drilling and confirming the economic viability of the nuggetty gold at their Purdy’s Reward project south of Karratha on Australia’s north-western shoulder.

The government-backed CSIRO is already working one-on-one with Artemis — and has worked with other Pilbara gold players including Marindi Metals (ASX:MZN).

Now the science group wants to form a consortium to investigate the Pilbara gold story further.

“We’re very interested in continuing to do one-on -ne work with companies in the Pilbara,” said CSIRO research director Rob Hough.

“But we’re also very interested in at some point pulling together a consortium to really understand the weathering history and the potential vectoring tools that could be applied to exploring for this really interesting gold in the Pilbara.”

Dr Hough was speaking at Informa’s Pilbara Conglomerate Gold Conference in Perth this week.

“I think over the next six months we’d be starting to gauge what would a more regional perspective look like and what would a project look like at that level?” Mr Hough said.

“There’s actually some interest from the iron ore players as well. But it’s a regional Pilbara weathering history – how does the landscape evolve type story – which we’d be quite interested in bringing into a bigger context with the gold story and potentially the lithium pegmatite story as well.”

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Artemis revealed on Thursday it had been granted an exploration licence over an area where it plans to drill a “super deep” 3300m hole.

The company will start drilling about 50km south of its Radio Hill processing plant once its receives WA government approval.

CSIRO will focus on characterising the drill core obtained from the deep hole through the Pilbara stratigraphy.