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Western Mines dives deeper into Mulga Tank complex

Updated: Apr 30

Stinger nickel-rich sulphides intercepted from Western Mines Group’s latest deep diamond hole at its Mulga Tank project in WA. Credit: File

Emerging nickel explorer Western Mines Group has plunged the deepest hole to date into its Mulga Tank project in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region, pulling the rods up after 1548m.

And the deep dive into the extensive magmatic metal-rich mineral system is paying dividends, with the company reeling in more than 950m of visible nickel-sulphide mineralisation from the fertile ultramafic complex.

With assays yet to be returned, Western Mines is hopeful its latest haul from hole MTD026 will surpass the impressive thick intercepts returned from MTD023, about 1km to the north-east. Management says it has observed near-continuous disseminated magmatic sulphides in MTD026 that have coalesced into interstitial blebs of 3 to 5 per cent sulphide in some places.

The company notes mineralisation has also approached up to 10 per cent net-textured sulphides, with multiple intersections of high-tenor remobilised massive nickel-sulphide blebs and veining increasing in frequency toward the basal contact of the complex.

Management says the observation in a previously-unexplored area supports its belief that the Mulga Tank complex has the potential to host multiple massive sulphide deposits along the full basal contact. It believes it is not just limited to the western margin, where it was previously encountered.

Spot portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) readings taken at 50cm intervals down the length of the hole have returned an average nickel value of 0.31 per cent, with individual values of up to 65.6 per cent where massive sulphide mineralisation was observed. While not an absolute measure of nickel mineralisation, pXRF results give an early indication of likely metal enrichment.

Encouragingly, MTD026 continues to validate the company’s geological model that the Mulga Tank ultramafic complex is a large, undeformed lopolith-shaped sub-volcanic intrusion, with similarities to the renowned Perseverance and Mt Keith ultramafic complexes.

Adding further weight to the prospectivity of an active nickel-sulphide mineral system are multiple zones of nickel depletion, suggesting the silvery-white metal is being scavenged into sulphide form and mobilised elsewhere within the complex.

The company charmed the market in April when it revealed a cumulative 693.5m hit running at 0.28 per cent nickel, 128 parts per million cobalt, 61ppm copper and 27 parts per billion platinum and palladium from its MTD023 discovery hole. The pivotal discovery sent its share price on a tear from 11.5 cents up to a high in May of 99c.

Hole MTD026 is our second successful EIS deep hole into the Mulga Tank Complex. The hole showed remarkable similarities to hole MTD023 but overall seemed to be richer in sulphide mineralsiation, particularly in the last 50-70m approaching the basal contact. These holes validate our geological model of the complex and demonstrate a significant working nickel sulphide mineral system with a large footprint over some ~3.2km. Western Mines Group managing director Caedmon Marriott

Buoyed by a recent capital raising and a grant of $220,000 courtesy of the State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), the company is planning to keep its drill rods spinning for the rest of this year. It recently moved its rig to the eastern side of the complex in an area previously untouched by the drill bit.

It is also conducting downhole electromagnetic (DHEM) surveys concurrently on MTD025 and MTD026, seeking off-hole conductor anomalies that could suggest nearby basal massive sulphide accumulations.

To vector the drill rig towards prospective sites within the 3.2km-long system, Western Mines is employing the latest cutting-edge technology in its hunt for massive nickel-sulphide mineralisation. The company has engaged global industry specialists Expert Geophysics to conduct a Mobile MagnetoTelluric (MobileMT) survey across the Mulga Tank complex and the work is slated to commence in August.

MobileMT is the latest innovation in airborne electromagnetic technology and the most advanced generation of airborne audio-frequency magnetic technologies on the market. The system is capable of delivering geoelectrical information down to depths of 1km, assisting Western Mines to unlock the underlying 3D architecture of the bedrock and target accumulations of massive nickel sulphide.

The company’s systematic exploration approach to its intriguing patch covering the Mulga Tank ultramafic complex, appears to be edging closer to unravelling the buried secrets of the extensive magmatic nickel-sulphide system. With plenty of activity in the pipeline, market watchers will be keen to see what news the emerging nickel explorer unveils next.

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