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Western Mines models indicate big Mulga Tank nickel target

Updated: Apr 30

Western Mines Group’s combined model shows high-grade core (in pink) within a total 647-million-cubic-metre envelope and the outer shell of the dunite body. Credit: File

Intrigue continues to build around the potential size of Western Mines Group’s Mulga Tank complex in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region after the company recorded new nickel hits from reverse-circulation (RC) drilling.

Management says the latest campaign has yielded nickel intercepts of 2m at 1.05 per cent in one hole and 1m at 1.19 per cent in a second hole. Respective cumulative nickel intercepts from the two holes include impressive runs through the near-surface disseminated nickel zone of 168m at 0.29 per cent nickel and 159m at 0.29 per cent nickel, with both holes ending in mineralisation.

The total analysis for the first hole shows 2m at 1.05 per cent nickel, 394 parts per million cobalt, 583ppm copper and 27 parts per billion platinum group elements (PGE) from 196m, including 1m at 1.58 per cent nickel, 574ppm cobalt, 708ppm copper and 39ppb PGE from 197m.

The second hole features 1m at 1.19 per cent nickel, 424ppm cobalt, 234ppm copper and 21ppb PGE from 277m and 1m at 0.96 per cent nickel, 368ppm cobalt, 68ppm copper and 41ppb PGE from 289m.

A third hole also produced impressive runs of nickel grades consistent with results from 19 of the company’s 20 holes to date, with a cumulative run of 91m at 0.24 per cent nickel, including two continuous intercepts of 24m at 0.28 per cent and 39m at 0.24 per cent.

Some great assay results to start the new year with three more holes taking our RC ‘hit rate’ to 19 out of 20 holes received to date showing broad zones of nickel sulphide mineralisation. This latest batch returned a couple of intersections over 1 per cent nickel in two holes on the southern boundary of the area tested, demonstrating the mineralisation might be open in this direction. Western Mines Group managing director Dr Caedmon Marriott

All three of the holes lie along the same east-west line in the nominally 500m-by-300m, grid-based 22 RC hole program. The line marks the southernmost boundary of the shallow disseminated nickel zone defined by previous RC and diamond drillholes, suggesting the same style of mineralisation could continue further to the south.

Management says a likely focus of its RC drilling programs for the year will be to infill and extend the zone, which will include a better definition of the emerging higher-grade central disseminated zone.

The RC program was designed to follow up a distinct shallow zone of disseminated nickel mineralisation that was showing up in many of the company’s previous diamond drill holes in a wide area. The zone starts almost immediately beneath the ubiquitous 60m to 90m of sand cover and extends from as shallow as about 100m and as deep as about 320m. It appears to be laterally continuous and likely to extend well beyond the limits of the current RC drill pattern.

Mulga Tank’s unusual, near-surface mineralisation has prompted thoughts of a potential shallow, disseminated Mount Keith-style of nickel resource that could be mined by open-pit.

Reassured by the remarkable consistency of depth and grades in the disseminated zone and with all but one batch of assay results in hand, the company has undertaken tentative modelling of the potential resource lurking beneath the sand cover. The assessment is a first step towards generating a JORC-compliant exploration target and an initial mineral resource.

Western Mines says it has completed a first-pass review of all drill hole assay results from the project, including mapping out the size and scale of the geochemical anomalies identified that define a significant, shallow mineralised target volume within the main dunite body of the Mulga Tank ultramafic complex. It has used various parameters, including nickel, sulphur, copper and PGE content, to determine the extent of mineralisation, resulting in two models for the mineralised volumes.

Combining volumes from the models shows an estimated total of about 647 million cubic metres.

Management says its geochemical modelling is intended solely as an exploration tool to get a sense of scale of the results to date and to inform the direction of future exploration. But there is little doubt that the current assessments add further impetus to what is continually emerging as a remarkable Mulga Tank project.

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