Nickel play Auroch Minerals (ASX: AOU) is having quite a day with news that it has picked up a historic project near Coolgardie as well as intersecting massive sulphides at part of its Leinster project in Western Australia.
Auroch has signed a binding agreement with private company East Coolgardie Goldfields to acquire 80% of the Nepean nickel project which includes the historic Nepean nickel sulphide mine.
Between 1970 and 1987 Nepean produced 32,303 tonnes of nickel metal at an average recovered grade of 2.99% but closed due to low nickel prices at the time.
Auroch considers the 3,128-hectare, 13 tenement package as both highly prospective and under-explored.
The old mine has a remnant JORC resource of 13,250t of contained nickel at 2.2%.
Auroch managing director Aiden Platel said the company was thrilled to add another nickel sulphide project to its Western Australian portfolio.
“The high-grade Nepean nickel mine is an integral part of the history of nickel mining in Australia,” he added.
Drilling in 2008 hit high grades
Auroch expects there is “high” potential to build on those remnant resources with drill targets identified along strike and at depth, with there being more than 10km of underexplored strike of the Nepean mafic-ultramafic mine and/or aeromagnetic anomalies.
In 2008, Focus Minerals (ASX: FML) undertook extension drilling at the mine and intersected nickel, with mineralisation hit at shallow depths (one from 37m down hole).
This drilling returned nickel assays of 3m at 11.78%, 3m at 9.93%, 4m at 6.63% and 6m at 2.82%.
Auroch says permit applications, along with planning, for a maiden drilling campaign are already underway.
The project lies 25km south of Coolgardie.
The remaining 20% of the Nepean project will be held by private company owned by gold prospectors, resource industry executives, stockbrokers, lawyers and others.
First hole at Horn strikes 5m of nickel
Meanwhile, the first diamond drill hole at the Horn prospect within Auroch’s Leinster project has returned a 5m intersection of nickeliferous semi-massive to massive sulphides. The mineralisation was intercepted from 120m.
This was the first of six holes planned at Horn and was targeting mineralisation intercepted by historic drilling which was recorded as 7m at 2.58% nickel and 0.63% copper.
The first hole is now being geologically logged.
Sampling and assaying will be fast-tracked with assay results made available as soon as possible.
Mr Platel said success has been achieved with the first hole.
“The intersection has confirmed the thickness and continuity of nickel sulphide mineralisation at a relatively shallow depth, which is a significant and attractive attribute of the Horn prospect,” he added.