NickelSearch has embarked on another round of exploration drilling, this time testing high priority geochemical and geophysical targets at its Carlingup nickel sulphide project near Ravensthorpe, WA.

The initial 2,000m reverse circulation drill program will test the B1 and Serendipity areas for the first time.

Nine holes will be drilled at B1 to confirm and extend the area of known historical nickel sulphide intercepts while holes at Serendipity, which has seen relatively little drilling, will test areas of increased nickel values identified from assays of recent ultrafine soil sampling.

Subject to results of logging, assays and downhole electromagnetic surveying, NickelSearch (ASX:NIS) may carry out further drilling at both targets before moving on to the Lipple and Wadley greenfield targets, subject to weather conditions and final regulatory approvals, and then brownfield extensional drilling at RAV8.

“We are excited to be drilling to test the extent of the nickel mineralisation at B1,” managing director Nicole Duncan said.

“The historical drilling intersected nickel sulphides at over 1% nickel so we are keen to better understand the geology.

“At Serendipity, we are targeting the areas with exceptionally high nickel and chrome in the results of the soil sampling.”

Carlingup has a nickel sulphide resource of 11.6Mt at 0.56% nickel, 0.05% copper and 0.01% cobalt, or a contained resource of 64,900t of nickel. This includes a higher confidence Indicated resource of 8.3Mt at 0.52% nickel, 0.06% copper and 0.01% cobalt for 42,300t of nickel metal.

Sulphide ores, which are the main nickel feedstock for electric vehicle batteries due to their ease of conversion into nickel sulphate, are easier to process than laterite ores.


Co-funding secured for further exploration

NickelSearch has also secured a co-funding grant from the WA State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme for half the cost of drilling a deep diamond hole at the RAVD120 target to a cap of $220,000.

The grant highlights the significance of the company’s plan to drill the deep hole to follow up on historical drilling which, despite delivering positive results for base metals, was not tested further.

It noted that the historical hole in 2011, which was also drilled with assistance from the EIS co-funding scheme in place at that time, could not be completed to the target depth and hence failed to test the deep basal ultramafic contact for high-grade nickel-cobalt-copper-platinum group elements.

Studies using pyrite geochemistry as vectors to ore by the Geological Survey of Western Australia and the Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences at the University of Tasmania on five unrelated projects across WA found that RAVD120 had the highest score for copper-gold fertility with a pyrite signature similar to that at the Degrussa resource.

Additionally, alteration and sulphide textures in the drillhole indicate the hole passed through the edge of an overturned volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) system with dating of zircons indicating that this system had a similar age to those that host major deposits in the Yilgarn.

The company’s deep diamond hole will seek to confirm VHMS mineralisation within the target Chester Formation sediments and volcanics, resolve the lithostratigraphic and structural setting where little current information is available, and locate potential extensions of high-grade nickel sulphides at depth and to resolve fundamental stratigraphic and structural problems.

“The prospectivity of RAVD120 has been on our radar for some time, so the successful application for co-funding has provided the investment we need to schedule in the drilling at depth that is required to test the target area,” Duncan added.

Drilling is expected to occur in the third quarter of this year when the ground is suitably dry for a drill rig to mobilise and may be carried out in combination with a wider diamond drilling program at other highly prospective targets at the Carlingup project.




This article was developed in collaboration with NickelSearch, 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.