Nickel comes marching in: Auroch delights with Saints resource upgrade
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Auroch Minerals has announced a new mineral resource estimate for its Saints nickel sulphide deposit in WA, boosting its grade by 15%.
The new JORC 2012-compliant resource of 911,000t at 2.3% nickel for 21,000t of contained metal also includes a big leap for Auroch (ASX:AOU) in Indicated resources, which now make up two-thirds of the total inventory.
The updated resource includes 553,000t of Indicated resources at 2.5% nickel, 0.19% copper and 0.08% cobalt for 13,563t Ni, 1058t Cu and 433t Co.
That Indicated resource is important because it can be converted readily into mineable reserves at the right price point. Nickel prices are very strong right now, with LME grade nickel paying US$21,561/t.
It all bodes well for a Scoping Study, with the larger number of Indicated resources improving the confidence level in Auroch’s financial modelling.
Infill drilling by Auroch enabled tighter controls. The previous resource included 21,400t of nickel metal from 1.05Mt of ore at a grade of 2% nickel.
That means the new resource contains roughly the same amount of metal at higher grades in considerably less rock.
“The updated MRE for the Saints Nickel Project is a fantastic outcome for the project and for the company. The main focus of the infill drilling and subsequent MRE update was to upgrade a significant portion of the nickel resource from Inferred resources to Indicated resources, in order to increase the confidence level in our financial modelling for the Scoping Study,” Auroch MD Aidan Platel said.
“The MRE update has very successfully done that, with two-thirds of the contained nickel now in the Indicated resources category.”
Platel said the 15% increase in nickel grade exceeded even Auroch’s expectations, highlighting the high grade nature of the Saints mineralisation.
“The new MRE will now form the basis for the mine design and optimisation studies. With the metallurgical testwork nearing completion and looking great, we are drawing closer to completing what we believe will be a very positive Scoping Study for the Saints Nickel Project.”
In a future mining scenario that resource, spread across the St Patricks and St Andrews orebodies, would likely be extracted via underground mining methods.
It is well located around 65km north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, placing Auroch in hauling distance of key toll treatment options like BHP’s Kambalda nickel concentrator and Poseidon Nickel’s Black Swan plant.
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.