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Grants to fuel deeper Western Mines Group dive into Mulga Tank


Western Mines Group drill chips from 254m to 255m depth showing massive nickel sulphides. Credit: File

Western Mines Group (ASX: WMG) has received a glowing new endorsement from the State Government via two exploration incentive scheme (EIS) grants to help it plunge further into its Mulga Tank nickel project near Lake Minigwal in Western Australia.


The company has already secured EIS funding for three previous diamond drillholes, with the third one targeting a Mobile Magnetotelluric (MobileMT) anomaly near the keel of the ultramafic intrusive still in progress. The company last week reported that hole had attained a depth of 750m and was heading to about 1200m.


The two new WA Government grants, which were assessed against EIS criteria and total $318,000, relate to two separate programs at Mulga Tank. The first hole, valued at $220,000, will assist the company with a fourth deep diamond hole that is being planned to drill as deep as 1500m in the interpreted centre of the project’s high-grade zone.


Management believes the zone could be either a sulphide-enriched keel and/or the feeder vent for the overall intrusion. It believes also the zone was just skimmed by the previous deep diamond hole which returned 96m at 0.40 per cent nickel and 0.016 per cent cobalt from 1208m.


The results were recorded from an intercept in strongly disseminated sulphide mineralisation that Western Mines believes may represent “Perseverance-style” cloud sulphides near a basal massive sulphide accumulation. Perseverance-style nickel mineralisation takes its name from the Perseverance nickel mine near Leinster in WA, which features one of the world’s biggest accumulations of nickel sulphides hosted by komatiites.


The company will also get $98,000 for four reverse-circulation (RC) holes it proposes to drill in pairs into two separate arms of the fascinating komatiite channel system interpreted from aeromagnetics and which are also associated with Mobile MT anomalism.


The maximum $220,000 deep drilling award will be used to drill another exciting deep hole to test the MobileMT target at the base of the Mulga Tank complex. The $98,000 universal drilling award will be used to drill four RC holes, as part of our first RC program to step out from the main complex and begin testing the komatiite channels further up the greenstone belt.
Western Mines Group chairman Rex Turkington

Management says under the terms of the EIS grant, it can kick off the drilling at any time after June 1 and based on previous deep diamond drilling at Mulga Tank, it could require up to two months to complete.


It says the $98,000 RC work will be the first serious step-out drilling exploration away from the ovoid centre mass of the complex. It is designed to explore the potential of the deposit’s prominent elongate channels that extend as far as 15km along the Minigwal greenstone belt.


If any of the elongate arms can be shown to carry meaningful nickel mineralisation, it could have a significant impact on overall resource numbers for the project.


One pair of holes will test one channel about 4km from the north-west of the main intrusive body, while the second pair of holes will test the distal end of a second separate channel about 6km north/north-west from the main body. All four RC drill holes will be collared on a contiguous licence area centred north-west of the main body.


The nickeliferous Mulga Tank ultramafic complex is a large intrusive dunite body that features an extensive magmatic nickel sulphide mineral system similar to several world-class examples of komatiite-hosted nickel deposits of both the type-two (Mt Keith) and type-one (Perseverance) models.


The company’s extensive drilling has produced significant nickel-cobalt and platinum group elements (PGE) mineralisation from almost every hole, including from a shallow disseminated zone and a semi-massive to massive sulphide mineralised zone. Drilling has also encountered intersections of what the company describes as “thin, high-tenor massive sulphide veins and immiscible sulphide globules”.


It increasingly suggests a possible hybrid system analogous to Perseverance-style, greatly enhancing the prospectivity of the project.


The extensive, consistent and cohesive mineralisation and remarkable uniformity of grades in each specific zone inspire confidence in the potential for the project to come up with the goods. It also provides an intriguing example of two or more nickel mineralisation styles and fascinating morphology which, regardless of any long-term economic success or otherwise, deserves to end up in the textbooks on the shelves of every geologist.


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