• Earth AI’s deposit targeting system finds first-ever magmatic PGE-nickel-copper mineralisation within the Lachlan Fold Belt
  • Discovery within Legacy Minerals’ Fontenoy project is being carried out under their exploration alliance agreement
  • Diamond drilling returns 34m intersection grading 0.5g/t 3E PGE with a high-grade zone of 10m at 1.2g/t 3E PGE
  • Further diamond drilling to follow-up on the significant find in the planning stages


Special Report: Artificial intelligence-guided exploration has delivered on its promise, aiding Legacy Minerals’ discovery of the first-known magmatic PGE-nickel-copper mineralisation within the Lachlan Fold Belt of New South Wales.

Legacy Minerals (ASX:LGM) had entered into exploration alliance agreement with Earth AI in May 2022 that will see the artificial intelligence (AI) deposit targeting system developer Earth AI spend up to $4.5 million over two years on exploration at the Fontenoy and Mulholland projects in NSW.

Fontenoy has historically been drilled by other companies looking for shallow nickel laterite deposits but never before tested for either PGEs or magmatic-related mineralisation.

Legacy Minerals (ASX:LGM)
Diamond drilling carried out by Earth AI and historical drilling. Pic: Supplied (LGM)

This all changed when Earth AI’s exploration program at the Fontenoy project discovered nickel sulphides in and around the Ordovician Moonbilleen gabbro – occurring in the centre of the tenement – in June 2023.

Rock chip sampling returned a sample of pentlandite (nickel-iron sulphide) identified through petrography and scanning electron microscopy, which returned an assay of 12ppb platinum, 11ppb palladium, 286ppm copper and 662ppm nickel.

Other rock chips returned up to 0.8% nickel, 8.3% copper, 585ppm cobalt, 0.21g/t platinum, 0.34g/t palladium and 0.28g/t gold.

This led to Earth AI launching a diamond drilling program in September 2023 to test the nickel sulphide targets, as well as historical copper-gold intersections at Fontenoy.

Legacy Minerals (ASX:LGM)
Drilling at hole EFO7D. Pic: Supplied (LGM)


First-ever Lachlan Fold Belt magmatic nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation

Earth AI’s drilling program has now discovered magmatic-related PGE and nickel-copper-iron sulphide mineralisation with diamond hole EFO7D returning a 34m intersection grading 0.46g/t 3E PGE which includes a higher-grade zone of 10m at 1.2g/t 3E PGE, 0.21% nickel and 891ppm copper from a down-hole depth of 388m.

Importantly for LGM and Earth AI, this is the first-known discovery of this mineralisation style in the Lachlan Fold Belt.

This has the potential to be hugely lucrative for the two companies as magmatic-related PGE-nickel-copper sulphide deposits can be very large and valuable.

Notable examples include the Nova-Bollinger and Chalice deposits.

Additionally, PGEs and nickel are recognised by the Australian Government as essential to our modern technologies, economies and national security.

“To kick-off 2024 with a new magmatic PGE-nickel-copper discovery, Gramont, at our 100% owned Fontenoy project is a fantastic result,” LGM managing director Christopher Byrne said.

“The key driver of this discovery is the implementation of artificial intelligence through our alliance partner Earth AI. In their search for magmatic-related nickel-copper sulphides and PGE’s in an area previously known for its scandium-nickel-cobalt laterite deposits, this is genuine frontier exploration.

“What is also impressive is that this is the first confirmed discovery of magmatic-related nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in the 700km long ultramafic belt that hosts the Fontenoy Project.

“Magmatic nickel-copper styles of mineralisation are targeted globally due to their potential to contain a suite of elements of significant value. The inclusion of platinum group elements and nickel in the Australian and global critical minerals list further underpins the significance of this discovery for shareholders.

“While the Earth AI team is at an early stage in the discovery, the grades, width and extensive prospective strike length mean this discovery is wide open for further exciting news to come.”


Exploration alliance agreement

The discovery will be welcomed by Earth AI as its exploration alliance agreement with LGM is contingent on making a successful discovery.

Earth AI will only be able to earn up to 3% royalty over the project if a significant drilling discovery is made, while LGM will retain 100% ownership of the two tenements.

Earth AI also has the option to purchase either project for US$1 million and 2% royalty to LGM if LGM does not spend US$250,000 per annum from the second anniversary of the qualifying intercept, or a resource is not defined.

Separately, Earth AI has reached a similar agreement with Kincora Copper (ASX:KCC) for the Cundumbel project, which is also in NSW’s Lachlan Fold Belt.


Next steps

LGM notes the strong nickel-copper-PGE surface anomalism encountered south of the discovery intersection is now a priority area for follow up.

The confirmation of PGE association with disseminated sulphides is particularly encouraging as there is now the opportunity to follow up with electrical geophysics for future drill targeting.

Surface geochemical surveys targeting PGE-related mineralisation may also define drill targets for testing.

These sulphides may be hosted in mafic and accumulate ultramafic intrusive bodies, both dykes and sills. Gravity may also allow for further definition of these prospective host rocks for magmatic nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation.

Planning is currently under way for diamond drilling to follow-up on these results.



This article was developed in collaboration with Legacy 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.