Newly-listed explorer NickelX (ASX: NKL) has commenced a phase one maiden drilling program at its Fire Dragon target within the Biranup nickel-copper project in Western Australia’s prolific Albany Fraser Orogen.
The $310,000 program will comprise 1,212 metres of diamond drilling to test for massive sulphides at Fire Dragon and the FD1 electromagnetic conductors.
Work is being co-funded by a drilling grant of $150,000 under the WA government’s exploration incentive scheme.
NickelX is aiming to locate thicker and potentially economic extensions of a nickel-copper bearing sulphide zone intersected at Fire Dragon in 2017.
It also hopes to gain a better understanding of the style of mineralisation as it will have important implications for nickel exploration throughout the Biranup project and the greater Orogen belt.
“A successful drilling program [which intersects] potentially economic mineralisation or wide zones of alteration and anomalous metal concentrations that may serve as vectors to a buried mineral deposit would dramatically expand the zone currently considered prospective for magmatic nickel deposits,” the company said.
“This would have a flow-on effect on neighbouring projects, stimulating exploration investment in the north- eastern Albany Fraser Orogen and enhancing its perception as an exciting exploration destination.”
The phase one program will be followed up with 5,000m of additional drilling to expand on results and to test the neighbouring and highly-prospective Silver Dragon nickel-copper and Black Dragon gold targets.
Six exploration licences
The Biranup project is comprised of six granted exploration licenses covering a total area of 400 square kilometres in the north-eastern part of the world-class Albany Fraser Orogen.
Previous work has identified more than 20 electromagnetic conductors including four high priority targets considered prospective for magmatic nickel-copper mineralisation.
Fire Dragon has been subject to airborne and ground moving loop electromagnetic surveys by both previous explorers and NickelX, as well as limited historical drilling which intersected narrow zones of semi-massive to massive sulphides including pentlandite and chalcopyrite.
The Albany Fraser Orogen is considered an emerging mineral belt with recent nickel-copper discoveries including Silver Knight (owned by Creasy Group), Mawson (Legend Mining, ASX: LEG) and Orion (IGO, ASX: IGO).
The belt’s total mineral endowment is approximately 300,000 tonnes of contained nickel-copper.
NickelX was admitted to the Australian Securities Exchange in May following a $7 million initial public offering.
The company said it was well-funded to continue its work in the Albany Fraser Orogen, primarily focused on the discovery of high-grade magmatic nickel-copper deposits and large-scale structural gold deposits.