NickelSearch has mapped out the next phase of exploration at its flagship Carlingup project, identifying and prioritising more than 30 greenfield targets.

The targets, 11 of which are Priority 1 targets, were identified by a recently completed integrated and systematic nickel sulphide targeting study.

This study also defined a highly prospective mineralised corridor at Carlingup South between the RAV8 and RAV5 deposits over a strike extent of 9km, with three drill-ready targets.

NickelSearch (ASX:NIS) noted the targeting work was enhanced by recently received ultra fine soil assay results along the Carlingup South trend that returned highly anomalous Kambalda and platinum group metals responses which are indicative of komatiitic nickel sulphides at depth.

Additionally, encouraging aircore assays, soil geochemistry and recent magnetic interpretation at John Ellis indicate a 2.2km strike of the prospective basal contact is concealed beneath cover and mineralised laterite.

“The completion of this initial ranking of our exploration targets at Carlingup is a significant milestone for the exploration team and positions the company to commence drill testing the highest ranked targets as soon as seasonal ground conditions are right and we have secured the necessary approvals for the proposed work program,” managing director Nicole Duncan said.

“This ranking model is dynamic and will be continuously updated as new knowledge is obtained from the ongoing work programs.”

While Carlingup has an existing resource, an update is currently being worked on after the company’s maiden drilling intersected bulk nickel sulphide mineralisation.


Nickel targeting

The integrated targeting study expands on the insights gained from an intensive nickel sulphide workshop conducted with world renowned nickel specialist Tony Donaghy from CSA Global in late 2021.

NickelSearch believes the target environment for the formation of nickel sulphide ores at Carlingup are ultramafic channel features.

As such, the primary targeting criteria for identifying this specialised geological environment are:

  • Soil geochemistry that focuses on identifying magmatic nickel sulphide (i.e., Kambalda Ratio and PGMs);
  • Airborne electromagnetics (EM) to identify sulphide-bearing source rocks; and
  • Aeromagnetic data to identify channel facies in the ultramafic host units where sulphides might accumulate.

Besides the known nickel sulphide deposits, the mineralised corridor defined by the study at Carlingup South contains most of the top priority targets which are hosted in ultramafic rocks.

Along the 9km strike extent, the frequency of geochemical and geophysical anomalies indicative of sulphide channels has similar characteristics to well-established komatiite-hosted nickel systems like Forrestania, Kambalda Dome and Perseverance in Western Australia.

The work has also highlighted two standout targets – Sexton and Javelin.

Sexton is a strong Kambalda ratio geochemical anomaly located east of the historical massive sulphide intersection of 2m at 1.2% nickel and 0.2% copper from 98.2m.This shows a thickening of the ultramafic stratigraphy, which is a geological setting similar to RAV8 and may indicate an ultramafic channel facies.

Likewise, Javelin is also a strong Kambalda ratio geochemical anomaly with soil data returning >10 parts per billion PGMs that extends to the southeast in a similar manner to the plunge of mineralisation at RAV8.


Next steps

NickelSearch has started downhole electromagnetic surveys at RAV8, RAV5, RAV1 and RAV4 West, with the aim of extending massive nickel-copper-cobalt -PGM bearing sulphide mineralisation through a follow-up drill program.

A mapping program using airborne magnetic data is currently being planned across the project to better define the location of the prospective basal contact of the ultramafic host rocks while a detailed airborne magnetic interpretation program will better define prospective sulphide channels in the ultramafic host units.

Program of Work applications have been made for priority target areas where the Company intends to drill in the coming months as soon as approvals are in place.

Petrological work as well as other studies at John Ellis is underway to better understand the host rocks and their prospectivity for nickel sulphide mineralisation.


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.