Diamond drilling is due to start this week at Impact Minerals’ (ASX: IPT) wholly-owned Broken Hill nickel-copper-platinum group elements project in New South Wales.
The exploration program has been brought forward due to rig availability and will allow Impact to accelerate its plans at the flagship project where drilling last year achieved breakthrough drill intercepts at the Reed Hill, Platinum Springs and Rockwell-Little Broken Hill Gabbro prospects.
At Red Hill, drilling will test for massive sulphides at depth to follow up a significant intercept of 138m at 0.3 grams per tonne 3PGE (palladium-platinum-gold) from surface including 12m at 1.5g/t 3PGE, 0.3% nickel and 0.2% copper.
Drilling at Little Broken Hill Gabbro will test for down-plunge extensions following robust widths up to 60m thick of strongly anomalous 3PGE mineralisation with individual metre assays of up to 2.6g/t 3PGE, 1.1% nickel and 0.7% copper.
The diamond work will be followed up with a more extensive reverse circulation program later this year.
Managing director Dr Mike Jones said good rig availability will work to Impact’s advantage.
“We are thrilled to have been able to secure a diamond rig at short notice at a time of record metal prices, in particular palladium and copper,” he said.
“Last year’s drilling delivered exceptional results for palladium, platinum, nickel and copper at all three of our key prospects and while we are still working through the large amount of data we generated, we are in a position to commence the follow-up program.”
Dr Jones said drilling would put the “first ever diamond drill holes” into the Little Broken Hill Gabbro to follow up results returned from the basal ultramafic unit which is believed to carry significant PGE mineralisation over several kilometres of trend.
The Broken Hill project covers a suite of mafic to ultramafic intrusions which occur in a 40km-long belt from Little Broken Hill in the southwest to Red Hill, Darling Creek, Platinum Springs and Moorkai in the northeast of NSW.
The ultramafic intrusions are believed to be around 827 million years old and related to the break-up of a supercontinent called Rodinia by a rising “plume” of mafic to ultramafic magma likely derived from the core-mantle boundary.
The geodynamic framework of a rising mantle plume is widely recognised as a crucial component to the formation of major magmatic nickel-copper-PGE sulphide deposits and underpins Impact’s exploration philosophy for the region.