Same location. Same minerals. Same people.

Analyse it any way you like — the Rockford nickel and copper project of Legend Mining in Western Australia is a dead-ringer for the rich 2012 Nova Bollinger nickel and copper discovery of Sirius Resources.

Early-bird speculators have been taking positions on the Legend share register in the belief that Rockford will be as good as Nova Bollinger which is now a significant mining project in the hands of Independence Group — which acquired Sirius in 2015.

From a price of 1c for much of the past 12 months Legend began its rise earlier this year as news started to flow from the exploration site about 120km north of the Nova mine in the Fraser Range — and roughly 100km south of the Tropicana goldmine.

The awakening accelerated three weeks ago with the release of a seemingly innocuous drilling report which featured low-grade intersections of nickel, copper and cobalt with best assays of 0.37% nickel, 0.43% copper, and 0.03% cobalt over 14m starting at 72m to the end of the hole.

If those results had been reported from just about anywhere else only a handful of eagle-eyed geologists might have been interested.

But because they were from the Fraser Range — and because of the connections linking Sirius with Legend — the market woke with a start and Legend moved up to its recent price of 3.5c.

Legend Mining shares (ASX:LEG) over the past six months.
Legend Mining shares (ASX:LEG) over the past six months.

For the 1c buyers Legend already represents a gain of 250 per cent on their outlay.

But if the company and its Rockford project are identical to Nova Bollinger there could be a long way to go.

At its current share price Legend is valued on the market at $71.5 million.

When acquired by Independence, Sirius was valued at $1.8 billion in a share swap bid which valued each Sirius share at $3.24 — a country mile above their penny dreadful status before the Nova Bollinger discovery.

Legend has a long way to go before anyone can say it really has got a Nova Bollinger lookalike at Rockford, a discovery process that will require much more drilling and detailed geophysical surveys, including electromagnetics.

The current work program calls for 8000 metres of aircore drilling (the cheapest and simplest form of exploration drilling) over the next few months with the aim being to further identify the types of rocks which returned the early low-grade assays.

Once the aircore results are in Legend is planning to apply what it calls an innovative “moving loop” electromagnetic survey during June and July.

Diamond drilling later this year

Later in the year it is likely that more detailed diamond drilling will follow as the hunt narrows down targets.

Interesting as the search might be the more significant point with Legend is that older observers are excused for imaging that they’re heard all this before during the early days of the Nova Bollinger hunt by Sirius.

For starters, the ownership structure of Legend bears the hallmarks of deal assembled by Australia’s master prospector, Mark Creasy, who has a 28% stake in Legend (versus 35% in Sirius), while he also holds a direct 30% share in Rockford, (as he did with Nova Bollinger).

When Independence acquired Sirius Creasy swapped his position for an 18.6 per cent stake in the bigger business, leaving Independence to get on with the mundane chore of running a mine while he could do what he does best, discover orebodies.

Repeating the Sirius experience also includes being in the same location with Fraser Range starting to show similar features to one of the world’s great mineralised structures the Thompson Belt in Canada.

In geological terms Rockford has been identified as an olivine-rich gabbronorite, which might mean little to the average investor, except that it appears to be the same rock type which hosts Nova Bollinger.

From an exploration perspective Rockford looks like the starting point of something significant because of the parallels with Nova Bollinger and the process by which the earlier discovery was made with a modest early show at a prospect called The Eye with a 1% nickel grade over 8m being the start of much bigger and better drill results.

At Rockford those first significant assays reported earlier this month were from a location called Area D, a relatively small exploration focal point (like The Eye) within a big land holding is located almost in the centre of the Fraser Range belt.

Area D, according to Legend’s filings at the ASX is just one zone with the potential to contain Nova Bollinger-style nickel and copper deposits or Tropicana-style gold.

Rockford, after barely rating a mention over the past six months, promises to be one of the most closely followed exploration project in Australia over the next six-to-12 months, which should also make Legend one of the most closely followed mineral exploration companies.

History doesn’t always repeat exactly, but if you’re in the right location with the right people, chasing the hottest mineral combination of the day, then the chance of something significant being discovered is better than most other projects.