Auroch hits 5 per cent massive nickel sulphides in WA | Ralph-Lauren

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Auroch Minerals’ maiden exploration program over the Nepean nickel mine in WA has delivered in spades, with drilling intersecting high-grade massive sulphide mineralisation grading at over 5 per cent nickel. The company has received the lab results from the first six holes of the program, with a further four holes still awaiting assay as exploration continues across the mine stratigraphy.

Nickel-rich intercepts from the drilling program include 2 metres at 5.09 per cent nickel from 91m, 1m at 5.57 per cent nickel from 60m and 2m at 3.02 per cent nickel from 55m down-hole. Drilling has now extended the recognised strike of the Nepean deposit more than 500m to the south, with Auroch now sweating on the results of a further four drill holes as it continues its 3,500m program across the high-grade project.

The intersections have extended both Sill 2 and Sill 3 in places, the two main lenses of massive nickel sulphides in the historic Nepean mine, and as such we now have this very shallow, very high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation continuous for at least 500 metres of strike, which in itself presents a strong case for a potential shallow open-pit scenario that we may be able to fast-track to cash flow.

We are also very excited to now be drilling the aeromagnetic targets along the 10km of prospective strike at Nepean, all of which have very high potential to host significant nickel sulphide mineralisation, yet they have never been previously explored with modern techniques.

The company’s Nepean nickel mine is located west of the Kalgoorlie and 25km south of Coolgardie in WA. The underground mining operation originally kicked off in 1970, producing more than 1.1 million tonnes of ore at an impressive 2.99 per cent nickel before being shut down in 1987 following a sharp fall in the nickel price. In the course of the mine’s 17 years of operation, the ores from Nepean were trucked to the nearby smelter at Kambalda and resulted in the production of over 32,300 tonnes of nickel metal.

Nickel mineralisation at Nepean takes the form of semi to massive sulphide lodes that sit along the various mafic-ultramafic geological contacts within the mine stratigraphy.

Historic mining at Nepean exploited two of these recognised sulphide lodes, however Auroch speculates there remains the potential for repetitions of the main ore lodes adjacent to the existing mine workings and within the strike extensions of the mine, to both the north and the south of the operation.

Auroch’s maiden drilling program commenced in January 2021 and has quickly turned out an impressive set of results. Initial drilling targeted previous shallow drill intercepts from a 2007-08 program which had yet to be properly investigated.

Drilling has been completed adjacent to the mine workings, with the rig set to continue its exploration program along more than 10kms of nickel-rich ultramafic host rocks that stretch through the company’s extensive tenure.

Regional exploration will test a range of geophysical targets across the prospective ultramafic stratigraphy with all holes to be surveyed with down-hole electromagnetics, as Auroch begins delineating a wealth of new targets throughout the under-explored nickel terrane.

Auroch’s drilling program is already proving to be well targeted and with the nickel price now topping US$18,000 a tonne, Auroch looks to be sitting pretty as it continues to drill along the high-grade extensions to the operation. With the promise of a flow of results to come in the short term, the company looks to have an interesting few weeks ahead as it continues its sulphide hunt in one of WA’s least explored nickel terranes.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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