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CSIRO helps Octava kick-start WA critical minerals search

Updated: Apr 19

CSIRO collaboration on Octava’s exploration activities will range from the pre-soil survey stage to interpretation of geochemical analysis. Credit: File

Octava Minerals is putting boots on the ground at its Yallalong nickel-gold project, about 220km north-east of Geraldton in Western Australia’s Mid West region – and the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) has jumped in with funding to help lessen the impact of the imprint.

The gold and “green energy” metals explorer has snared exploration funding from the CSIRO’s Kick-Start program and will be employing the agency’s leading-edge technology to optimise sample collection, while simultaneously reducing on-ground activity.

It is great to be collaborating with Australia’s premier science agency, CSIRO, to use technology to improve our exploration targeting for critical metals at Yallalong. By applying machine-learning to landscape domaining, sampling design, and soil sample data interpretation, we can reduce our search space and decrease our on the ground impact. Octava Minerals managing director Bevan Wakelam

The collaboration with the CSIRO will comprise statistical and machine learning models from the pre-soil survey stage through to the final stage of interpretation of geochemical analyses, to better define areas of interest and subsequent exploration targets.

Octava notes that one challenge for explorers at settings with varying landscape types is defining anomalous chemistry within samples. So it says the ability to optimise sample collection to assist with targeting, while collecting a qualitative and representative chemistry background with minimal additional effort, would provide step-change improvements for its exploration programs at Yallalong.

It is one of three projects in geographically-proven discovery areas of WA, with its flagship being its Talga lithium operation in the East Pilbara.

Yallalong sits within the Yallagong Basin on the western edge of the Yilgarn Crater. The tenement runs north-south and covers about 65.5 square kilometres of land that Octava says has been under-explored because the basin’s value has not been recognised.

The company believes its prospectivity for nickel-copper PGM mineralisation relates to mafic-ultramafic intrusions, adding that Todd River Resources and S2 Resources – both south of Yallalong – have recorded respective mineralisation of copper-nickel and copper-PGM anomalies. Management also believes Yallalong enjoys a similar geological setting to the Proterozoic craton edge mineralisation – similar to Chalice Mining’s massive nickel-copper-PGM discovery, about 220km to the south.

To date, seven prospective targets, including an antimony discovery, have been identified from rock chips. Geochemical sampling from magnetic targets, ground and airborne electromagnetic surveys and aircore and RC drilling tests are all scheduled for this quarter.

Octava joined the CSIRO’s Kick-Start program, which provides funding and access to research expertise and capabilities to innovative Australian start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises. Recipients match any funding they are granted from the CSIRO on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The company’s management says work programs at Yallalong have begun and the market will be updated when results are received.

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