Fresh from receiving a royalty-fuelled cash boost, junior cobalt explorer Jervois Mining (ASX: JRV) is poised to commence further exploration at its Nico Young cobalt-nickel project in New South Wales.
The Nico Young resource sits over two distinct bodies of mineralisation held under separate but adjacent exploration licenses dubbed Ardnaree and Thuddungra.
The aspirational miner said that it has now approved an infill drill and metallurgical testing programme for the Thuddungra deposit costing around A$1.35 million, with another adjacent exploration license (Ardnaree) already added into the company’s current pre-feasibility study.
Jervois is spending close to A$5 million on drilling campaigns at Ardnaree and Thuddungra including the associated metallurgical and PFS activities being done at the two prospects.
The company says that its infill drill programme at Thuddungra will begin next month and will likely be completed by the end of August. The explorer expects to complete 88 drill holes with 68 undertaken via reverse circulation and 20 via diamond drilling, for a total of 4,400m.
The results will be assessed and added into Jervois’ resource tally at the Nico Young project with a view of publishing a plentiful JORC estimate as part of a concurrent feasibility studies being compiled by Jervois and due to be published later this year.
The company says that its exploration work at Thuddungra will be supplemented by work already completed at its other deposit – Ardnaree.
Feasibility studies en route
Jervois says it completed an infill drill program at Ardnaree in early 2018 with the results currently being aggregated into an updated mineral resource estimate.
As it stands, Jervois’ management believes that “initial mining activities will largely be focused on the shallower resource at Ardnaree”, although, the company stated “further metallurgical test work at Thuddungra is warranted”.
The rationale underpinning this decision to focus on Ardnaree is “simply to ensure that a mine at Nico Young is constructed and commenced from the economically optimal section of project mineralisation”, the company said.
Given the exploration schedule and the expected time taken to analyse assay results, the findings from the upcoming exploration work at Thuddungra will not be included in the pre-feasibility study due out in the September quarter 2018 – but will be incorporated directly into a definitive feasibility study, expected to be published soon afterwards.
In a statement, the company said that “this level of accelerated expenditure, in combination with the advance purchase of key long lead equipment such as the ore stacker, agglomerator and conveyor infrastructure, illustrates the board’s confidence that an accelerated and viable commercial pathway to market exists for Nico Young.”