Ardea Resources has partnered with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to unlock the secrets of the gold mineralisation at its Goongarrie project in Western Australia. The company’s work across the nickel-rich domain regularly encounters curiously high levels of gold mineralisation, prompting the company to enlist the expertise of the world renown research group.
Through focused and collaborative research, Ardea will gain a competitive advantage that will be used to further understand critical minerals and gold mineralisation beneath the lateritic deposits of the GNCP and elsewhere in the KNP. This is an example of Ardea’s innovative approach to maximise the value of the GNCP for all stakeholders and strategic investors.
Ardea’s Goongarrie Nickel-Cobalt project, or the “GNCP” is located 80km north of Kalgoorlie in the world-class Eastern Goldfields mineral province of Western Australia. The 100 per cent owned GNCP is the largest nickel-cobalt resource in the developed world according to the company and boasts an immense resource totalling 773 million tonnes at 0.71 per cent nickel and 0.05 per cent cobalt.
Ardea’s GNCP also covers 65km of the auriferous Bardoc Tectonic Zone, or “BTZ”. The BTZ is a north-south trending gold-bearing fault zone that runs for more than 125km, extending from the Paddington gold mine in the south to beyond the town of Menzies in the north. The BTZ hosts a plethora of gold mining centres along its strike length including Goongarrie, Comet Vale, Yunndaga and Lady Isobel – to name just a few.
It is this unique blend of geology and mineralisation which hosts nickel laterites and a gold-bearing fault zone that Ardea is seeking to better understand, hence the partnership with the CSIRO’s esteemed Regolith Geosciences team.
Globally nickel laterites are not normally associated with gold mineralisation, however as Ardea’s exploration and development program across the terrain has progressed, it has been hard to ignore the extensive gold anomalism associated with the nickel-bearing ultramafic host rocks. Recent work by the company indicates that this intriguing exception to the accepted rules of geochemistry may have lucrative consequences.
Playing out a hunch, Ardea’s initial work around Goongarrie has already borne fruit with the discovery of the Aphrodite North gold prospect immediate north of the historic high-grade gold mining centre. The company now believes there could be a lot more to the story and has called in the big guns from the CSIRO to add some gravitas to the theory.
The research program with CSIRO will run for seven months and will be jointly funded by Ardea and a grant from the Australian Government’s Entrepreneur’s program The main aim of the study is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the gold, nickel and cobalt mineralisation in the GNCP and how gold behaves within the weathering profile.
The study will examine whether the presence of gold and pathfinder mineralisation is a dispersion halo from underlying primary gold-bearing systems or whether the gold has been moved along associated veins and structures.
The CSIRO’s research will also look at establishing targeting vectors for future exploration to allow the more accurate design and planning of future drilling programs.
Whilst Ardea is sitting on one of the world’s largest nickel-cobalt ore bodies, the company suspects that the project also hosts a highly profitable and hidden secret in gold.
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