While the Roberts Hill gold project is acknowledged as Caeneus’ flagship, its Pardoo nickel-cobalt play is a worthy project in its own right.

Located just 70km from Roberts Hill, the Pardoo project is located within the East Pilbara Granite-Greenstone belt, which hosts base metals, gold, PGE and Iron Ore mineralisation, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Importantly, the project includes the Pardoo nickel-copper-cobalt deposit that comes with a historical (non-JORC) resource.

Caeneus Minerals (ASX:CAD) recently highlighted just how important Pardoo is with the recent start of drilling aimed at converting the historical resource to JORC 2012 Measured and Indicated resource classifications.

So just what makes Pardoo so valuable to Caeneus Minerals?


Nickel and not just a trickle

Speaking to Stockhead, chief executive officer Robert Mosig noted that the company has held the project for several years now but has not given It much love until his appointment and that of its exploration manager.

“This historical resource done in 2005-06 needs to be updated to modern standards and that’s why we haven’t really been able to talk much about it until we get that blessed with new credentials of the JORC 2012,” he explained.

This will be addressed by the 2,000m drill program, which will be relatively shallow’, with average drill depths of just 150m.

“We are going to authenticate a lot of the historical holes with this drilling that will allow us to come forward with a resource,” Mosig added.

“The mineralisation is apparent at surface and most of the mineralisation is present at a depth of between 80m-120m from surface.”

Location of the Pardoo nickel project. Pic: Supplied


A factory of gold refractory

Mosig added the company will also seek to confirm the metallurgy of the deposit given that questions had been raised over previous work that returned recoveries around the 75% to 80% mark.

“What we have found is that just like the Malina Basin for gold, for many years there was a discussion about the refractory nature of the gold in the Pilbara even at De Grey’s Hemi,” he added.

“The work that has been done quite recently has demonstrated very clearly that what was refractory sort of 10 years ago in gold is very much recoverable now.

“The same with nickel, there has been so much work done on nickel sulphide metallurgy that we are confident that we are taking bulk samples from some of this work for metallurgical evaluation as well and that’s going to be a key component of the work we are doing.”

Mosig added that the ultramafic-mafic rock type at Pardoo has all the perquisites that make it worthy of sampling for platinum group metals though it has never been investigated for the precious metals before.

“There seems to be a scarcity of PGMs in Australia, there’s no geological reason why.”

Caeneus also plans to carry out deeper drilling to understand the nature of the mineralisation.

Location of the Roberts Hill project. Pic: Supplied


Golden potential

Mosig is also keen to get to grips with Roberts Hill, which is right next door to De Grey Mining’s (ASX:DEG) exciting Hemi discovery.

“We are getting valuable information from the geochemistry. We have done a massive amount of geochemical analysis on our pioneering aircore drilling program that we did there last year,” he told Stockhead.

“No historical work has ever been done on Roberts Hill and now we know from our 18,000m aircore drilling that we have got gold just under half a gram, 0.42g/t.

“Whilst a lot of people might be slightly disturbed by that number, it is certainly from my point of view, a very exciting level of gold to find there in a drill campaign from 0-60m that we did there.

“We have got some information that shows there is gold there, we have information that shows from geochemistry that there are granitic intrusives there, so now we are going to do deeper drilling just like De Grey. We are expecting higher grades this time.”

Mosig explained that it took De Grey 10 years of exploration in the Malina Basin to find Hemi and that Caeneus’ sole aircore drilling program to date wasn’t ever going to turn up gold ingots.

“It took them (De Grey) quite a few years before they clicked on Hemi and I am hoping it won’t be quite as long for ourselves,” he added.

Caeneus is also waiting on the award of the exploration licence for Mt Berghaus, which Mosig plans to combine with Roberts Hill into a broader Malina project.

“Once that’s granted, we can move along, further in an easterly direction along the same structures that exist in De Grey’s areas,” he added.

“It is quite exciting what we are planning to do there. It’s going to be fun.”


One last thing

But there’s one last thing that Mosig is excited about beyond the company’s projects in Western Australia.

Caeneus also holds the Columbus Marsh project in Nevada that contains a large mature saline basin surrounded by epithermal hot springs.

“There’s lithium brines averaging 92ppm lithium in solution and over 1200ppm boron” Mosig explained.

“That’s quite encouraging levels to get there. The boron is mineable in some parts of South America.

“That’s one that we are going to be doing another drill hole to help us establish an understanding of the potential reservoir that we could have there.”


This article was developed in collaboration with Caeneus 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.