With fewer than half of assays back from Caeneus Minerals’ latest RC drilling program on its Pardoo nickel-copper-cobalt project, the company appears to have a firm grasp of the extensive mineralisation of the historical Highway orebody. It has mapped 900m of nickel strike and 1.25km of cobalt mineralisation and identified two new, high-priority drilling targets.
Whilst the grades of the battery metals are not standouts, it is the thick, shallow and widespread strike length that has Caeneus excited. the Pilbara project was discovered in the 1990s by CRA, now Rio Tinto, when the nickel price was less than 10 per cent of its current level of US$28,000 per tonne and has the company now looking at a potential open-cut mining operation at Pardoo.
The nickel potential of the Pilbara region was pushed into the limelight about two years ago after a string of major discoveries. Those successes and the surging price of nickel beckoned Caeneus to turn from its US lithium focus to domestic shores and restart exploration in the Pilbara.
According to the company, the ground contiguous to Caeneus’ Pardoo tenements boasts analogous geological characteristics to other Pilbara-based nickel-copper hotspots such as ASX-listed Artemis Resources’ Radio Hill and Sabre Resources’ Sherlock Bay projects.
The April drilling program was just the start of more drilling campaigns this year, focusing on the resource potential of the Highway orebody together with mapping any extensions to the mineralisation at strike and depth.
On top of the new RC data, the company reviewed all available historical drilling and led to the identification of two new targets at either end along strike from the main Highway orebody. The first target is 350m along trend to test the extension of previous thick, higher grade cobalt mineralisation and may add significantly more cobalt to the resource.
Drilling results are in for about 45 per cent of the April drilling program, with 14 holes punched into the Highway deposit, several already returning significant mineralisation including palladium, showing the site may not have been reliably evaluated by earlier exploration.
Its best assay result so far revealed an interpreted, sheared north-east trending banded iron formation, or “BIF” contact. The mineralisation from the surface collaring into an obscured nickeliferous gossan before encountering semi-massive disseminated pyrrhotite-chalcopyrite-pentlandite at depth.
These initial drilling results provide a breakthrough in the understanding of the historical Highway nickel, cobalt and copper project in the Pilbara. Our drilling compliments and confirms the current significance of the Highway Deposit whilst potentially adding value to the current mineralisation by the addition of palladium with the other metals.
Caeneus believes it has an exciting period ahead as it evaluates the open-pit mining potential of Highway in addition to continuing to explore around its expanding Roberts Hill and Mt Berghaus projects in the Mallina Basin.
Mosig argues the recent assays also significantly de-risk the project by verifying historical work on the deposit and increase Caeneus’ geological understanding of the shallow and large mineralised system.
Further drilling is flagged for later this year, with the explorer looking to define a higher-grade core and increasing the strike length of the ore body and hopefully providing the basis for a maiden JORC 2012 estimate.
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