White Cliff Minerals to investigate high-grade nickel-sulphide potential at Coronation Dam project

White CLiff Minerals Coronation Dam nickel cobalt exploration
White Cliff Minerals is planning an EM survey to target nickel sulphide at its Coronation Dam project.

Perth-based White Cliff Minerals (ASX: WCN) has announced it will use a ground moving-loop electro-magnetic (EM) survey to investigate the potential for nickel-sulphide mineralisation at its wholly-owned Coronation Dam nickel-cobalt project in Western Australia.

Designed and implemented by Southern Geoscience, the survey will target a prospective ultramafic unit, testing for conductors to a depth of 400m, which may be associated with high-grade nickel-sulphide.

It will consist of 17.9-line kilometres on 400m spaced lines with 200m loops to provide the most cost-effective coverage and is scheduled to begin in December.

White Cliff said it would consider testing any identified conductors with a limited follow-up drilling program.

Higher-grade ore

The focus on nickel-sulphide mineralisation at Coronation Dam stems from the fact that nickel-sulphide deposits are generally higher grade and cheaper to treat than nickel laterites.

For White Cliff, this means any nickel-sulphide discoveries can be mined and treated at a number of conventional plants within road or rail transport distance from the project.

By comparison, Coronation Dam’s nickel laterite ore content can only be treated at the Murrin Murrin high pressure acid leaching treatment plant, owned by Glencore and located 90km north of the project site.

Maiden resource estimate

In March, White Cliff released a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate for Coronation Dam of 5.7 million tonnes grading 1% nickel and 0.08% cobalt for 56,700t of nickel and 4,300t of cobalt.

The mineralisation was reported to be open along strike, with higher grades including 4m at 1.53% from 76m along the western margin of the resource drilling where depth of mineralisation increases.

The main zone of mineralisation extends more than 1.4km north-south and 750m east-west while the vertical thickness ranges up to 70m.

Immediately north of the resource are several historical drill holes with nickel and cobalt mineralisation greater than 0.8% nickel or 0.05% cobalt.

White Cliff said the planned EM survey will focus on high-grade nickel intersections identified in fresh rock by a reverse circulation drilling program earlier this year.

“Interestingly, a small portion of the mineral resource occurs in fresh rock and consists of 200,000t at 1% nickel and 0.02% cobalt,” the company said.

“The implication is that this may consist of either nickel-sulphide mineralisation or garnierite veining … [we are] investigating the potential for the tenement to host nickel-sulphide mineralisation.”

At mid-afternoon, shares in White Cliff were trading 20% higher at $0.006.