Australia’s premier research institution, CSIRO has delivered a key report on Ardea Resources Goongarrie project in WA’s gold and nickel rich Eastern Goldfields. The report marking completion of CSIRO’s collaborative study with Ardea offers valuable insights into the regional geology and structure and the potential for gold and nickel deposits in the roots of the Goongarrie mineralised system.
Focussing on the core of Ardea’s tenure at Goongarrie, covering about seven kilometres of strike along the fertile Bardoc Tectonic Zone, the study covered an area taking in Ardea’s Sylvia prospect in the north through to the Elsie discovery in the south. The company’s tenement holdings cover close to 65km of strike in total along the Bardoc Tectonic Zone, or “BTZ”.
Regionally the BTZ extends over more than 125km from Menzies in the north through to Paddington, 30 km north of Kalgoorlie, in the south. The BTZ hosts a wealth of nickel and gold mineralisation including Ardea’s 40 million tonnes of lateritic nickel deposits and Zijin Mining’s multi-million-ounce gold mining operations at Paddington, and includes the historic mining centres at Goongarrie, Comet Vale and Yunndaga.
Whilst Ardea remains a little coy on the detailed content of the report it set out to gain a competitive advantage in the region and says the study has provided critical information on geochemical and structural processes controlling nickel and gold concentrations in the terrane.
Detailed lab work has also for the first time recognised the presence of nickel sulphides within the stratigraphy, suggesting a primary source to the extensive oxide nickel deposits and hinting at the deeper potential of the system.
The in-depth work undertaken by Dr Walid Salama and his team at CSIRO has shed not only new light on our exploration efforts for gold but in undertaking this study, has increased our understanding of the nickel laterite deposits as well.
For Ardea, the work is already providing significant competitive advantages that will take our project studies and exploration efforts in new directions for nickel sulphide exploration, gold exploration, and metallurgical refinement of the process flow sheet.
Ardea says a new set of “tools” to assist with ongoing exploration, including geochemical pathfinders to allow exploration sampling to see through near- surface, metal-rich laterites and test the potential primary nickel and gold mineralisation hiding a depth, is another beneficial result of the CSIRO collaboration.
Insight gained from the study is already said to have helped Ardea identify a throng of primary gold targets associated with complex underlying structures within the BTZ. In particular, the development of deep lateritic profiles over underlying faults and shears may prove a useful vector for future drilling.
Ardea is now ranking a quiver of targets across the Goongarrie project area for future drill testing, including Patricia Anne, Pamela Jean, Elsie Tynan and Elsie South prospects that have already returned anomalous intercepts.
With its expanded exploration toolbox and successful targeting to date, Ardea is poised to put its stamp on a resurgent WA mining district and potentially deliver more than a few surprises as drilling kicks off in the months ahead.
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