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CSIRO guides Octava to maiden nickel-copper-cobalt drilling

Updated: Apr 19

Octava Minerals Yallalong project is near Yallalong on WA’s Murchison River. Credit:- File

Octava Minerals has the drill bit primed for a maiden nickel-copper-cobalt exploration program at its Yallalong project in Western Australia’s Mid West region, as part of a strategic collaboration with the CSIRO – the nation’s premier science agency.

The company says the campaign at the site some 160km north/north-east of Geraldton will test several significant anomalies identified through the CSIRO’s Kick-Start program, an initiative designed to assist innovative Australian start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises.

The project area is prospective for gold mineralisation associated with mostly cross-cutting structures related to the crustal scale Darling Fault and nickel-copper-platinum group elements (PGE) related to mafic–ultramafic intrusions centred along the fault.

The company has identified seven target areas along a 10km line of strike within the 65-square-kilometre project area, including nickel-copper-PGE, gold and antimony.

Octava Minerals managing director Bevan Wakelam said: “We are pleased to have the drill rig to test significant Ni-Cu-Co anomalies identified at Yallalong through our partnership with the CSIRO. The Western Yilgarn is an unexplored mineral province and we look forward to the progress of this initial exploration drill campaign.”

The project sits on the northern extension of the massive Darling Fault, which is associated with several magnetic highs such as those highlighting Chalice Mining’s sizeable Julimar nickel-copper-platinum group metals (PGM) discovery, about 60km north-east of Perth.

Chalice identified nickel-palladium mineralisation within the Gonneville intrusion, highlighting the potential for layered intrusions as hosts for significant magmatic derived mineralisation.

Other projects chasing similar metalliferous suites have been identified along the same north-south-trending linear structure of the Darling Fault. They include Pacific State Metals’ West Murchison nickel-copper holdings and Todd River Resources’ Nerramyne copper-PGE venture.

The Darling Fault is a singular dominating geological feature of Australia’s western continental margin and one of the longest and most significant faults in the nation extending north from the far south-west of the State for at least 1500km, almost parallel to the west coast of southern WA.

It is a major ancient geological boundary that has existed since the Proterozoic, at least 2.5 billion years ago. It separates the Archaean Yilgarn Craton on its east side from the younger Pinjarra Orogen  and its overlying recent Perth Basin and sedimentary infilling on its western side.

The fault represents a crustal scale suture that has been exploited by several later intrusive bodies including ultramafics, with signatures that can be identified in surface geochemistry along much of the alignment of the fault.

One example can be found near Bindoon, just north of Perth, where nickel anomalism has been picked up by Viridis Mining & Minerals over an interpreted ultramafic occurrence.

While high nickel values over ultramafics are not unusual, whether mineralised or not, the Bindoon occurrence with its accompanying elevated copper, palladium and scandium assays warrants further investigation, as do other areas featuring similar geochemical and structural relationships.

There are similar mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions identified within Octava’s Yallalong tenement, which straddles the far northern part of the Darling Fault.

The company has said that the mafic intrusions hosted at the project have not yet been explored in any detail, but have returned “significant” nickel-copper-PGM and antimony geochemistry.

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