Perth-based developer Caeneus Minerals has concluded a 20-hole, 4000m-plus RC drilling campaign at its Highway nickel-cobalt-copper-palladium deposit that is part of the company’s larger Pardoo project near Port Hedland in WA. The program’s phase two infill holes were aimed at collecting metallurgical and geological data ahead of a 2023 mineral resource estimate at the operation.
The company bagged up over 4500 samples in the program and says assay results from the probe are expected to start flowing in around November.
Holes from the recently completed program were aimed at filling the gaps between a historically open-pitible region at the site and defining down-dip extensions of its mineralisation.
Management plans to continue chasing the zone’s nickel at depth by using downhole electromagnetic surveys. Caeneus believes the move could help it vector in on higher grade, off-hole conductors.
The work will ultimately flow into a JORC-complaint estimate helmed by Entech Mining Consultants.
Entech was on-site for a portion of its phase-two operations, using the expedition to review sulphide mineralisation in RC chips produced as a result of the program.
The new campaign follows an April phase one probe that the company hailed immensely productive.
Caeneus punched 14 RC holes at Highway as part of the earlier drilling program and used the activity to validate the ground’s historical nickel strikes and examine its platinum group metal potential.
The company used the first phase to follow up a series of intriguing hits scored by mining behemoth CRA Exploration, now Rio Tinto, in the early 1990s.
At that time the price of nickel price was languishing around the US$2500 per tonne mark, meaning a long intercept of 89m going a modest 0.37 per cent nickel barely raised an eyebrow.
With the commodity’s price now trending at almost ten times that in recent times Caeneus believes the time is right to continue where Rio left off.
Assays results from Caeneus’ phase one began filtering through in June this year. They instantly endorsed legacy intercepts, through a suite of notable hits including 14m at 1.0 per cent nickel from 76m, inside a larger 64m parcel grading 0.5 per cent nickel from a 28m depth.
The program also delivered whiffs of anomalous cobalt and palladium.
A second batch of assays from the phase one expedition delivered a lengthy 84m intercept going 0.43 per cent nickel from 35m in June.
While the grades are far from head turners, the thick, shallow and widespread nature has Caeneus enthused.
Caeneus argues the ground contiguous to Pardoo offers comparable geological characteristics to several other significant nickel-copper plays in the Pilbara. The list includes ASX-listed Artemis Resources’ Radio Hill project that boasts an existing nickel-copper sulphide resource of around 4 million tonnes at 0.51 per cent nickel and 0.88 per cent copper.
After picking up a cocktail of potentially lucrative commodities in its phase one assays the company will eagerly anticipate the first wave of phase two results.
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